BOUNCE: What to take from the prep basketball week of November 21-26

Concordia Lutheran’s Cole Hayworth defends during November 23’s game against Leo.

A wild boys hoops Wednesday not so nice to the NE8

The NE8 did not have a great traditional opening night of basketball on the boys side. While games were played Tuesday, Bounce will always consider opening night to be Thanksgiving Eve; because I’m just old school minded like that.

The focus for Bounce was at Leo where the Lions took on Concordia in a game I was fairly certain about the outcome of beforehand just based on returning experience if nothing else. 

What we got to see there was a very poised and defensively tough Concordia team against a Leo team still trying to find its new identity which wasn’t a surprise. To Leo’s strength, Trey Hiteshew looked to be in midseason form as he made big shots and showed a severe willingness to attack the basket. But Concordia took major advantage of Leo’s lack of tangible varsity experience, pushing the Lions in the half court by giving them no space at any time. The pressure and pace of the Cadets was superb and leaves a lot of excitement about what they can do in the SAC as the season progresses. The Cadets secured 20 steals in the game led by six from Ajani Washington and five from Cole Hayworth. Hayworth finished with 20 points and David Speckhard scored 17, making five three pointers.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Homestead trounced Huntington North in a traditional Thanksgiving Eve game. Again, the result isn’t shocking but Homestead holding the Vikings to 14 points indicates a total rebuild at Huntington North. Kyron Kaopuiki scored 22 points and Will Jamison had 15 in the big Spartan win.

Probably the most shocking score to most was Carroll’s win over Norwell. The Chargers are going to be a ton better this season after last seasons letdowns but for them to come out of the gate and top arguably the best NE8 team was still a bit of a surprise. Jaxon Pardon scored 21 in the opener with Cannen Houser adding 15 for the Chargers. Norwell was led by 25 from Luke McBride.

And then there was New Haven‘s buzzer beater loss to a surging Woodlan team that had a great first week. Darrion Brooks scored 21 for the Bulldogs. But in the end, it was Woodlan sophomore Trey Yoder with the dagger at the buzzer to give Woodlan the win, 68-66. Braden Smith led Woodlan with 21 points while Yoder added 16.

All of this followed Tuesday’s loss for DeKalb to Northrop and not a great start for the NE8.

It wasn’t a lost week in the conference at all so I am not saying that. Despite Wednesday’s setbacks being some of the most noticeable of the week, the NE8 finished opening week of boys basketball 4-10 with Leo, Huntington North, Bellmont and Columbia City getting wins.

By the end of the week, there were a couple of wins for the Wednesday game losers on the bounce back. Huntington North rebounded with a nice win over Missisinewa on Saturday behind 17 points from Levi McElhaney while Leo survived a late South Side surge – to come back from down 21 – the same night to pick up an overtime win led by Jackson McGee‘s 32 points where McGee looked every bit of the offensive world beater that we expect him to be. Kudos in that South Side/Leo game to Archer junior Keegan Combs, who knocked down a buzzer beater three to force the overtime.

The gap is there in boys basketball

The season started on Tuesday night for the boys and it was a rude awakening for the area when it comes to the power teams from other parts of the state.

It started with North Side visiting top ranked Indianapolis Cathedral. It was always going to be a bit of a tough game and everybody knew that. But Cathedral had zero issue with the Legends. That is the top ranked team in OTH’s preseason power poll and arguably the top 4A team in the area getting routed by the top 4A team in the state by a final of 93-45. It’s a big gap.

Consider too this gap in 3A: NorthWood beats Concordia by 39 on Saturday afternoon. That is the #2 team in 3A running by arguably the area’s best 3A team. It’s a big gap in 3A also.

Of course in week one, things are easily forgotten and forgiven. Neither loss means anything locally as those two SAC teams prepare for a local race for a conference title and the matchup between the two down the line this season remains among the most interesting in the SAC all season. And of course we shouldn’t start a lot of postseason talk yet because it’s November for a couple more days, but where we sit now there is a size able spacing for local teams and the top teams from elsewhere, whether it is from the 317 or not.

Leo’s Trey Hiteshew works against the Concordia Lutheran defense during a November 23 game.

Huntington North girls near the top?

Taylor Double has been an absolute monster and it showed greatly Tuesday in a 58-55 overtime win against Homestead that has us questioning just how good the Vikings could be as the season progresses. Double put in 28 points and has continued to dazzle crowds and confuse defenses no matter where she is.

As great as Double was Tuesday, it was Marissa Trout who stole the show. Her half court buzzer beating make against Homestead in a tie game gave them the win. It also made it to the number one spot on the SportsCenter Top 10, a moment Trout will remember for a long, long time.

It continues to set up a really intriguing December 2 game against Norwell and a January 14 meeting with Columbia City.

Both of those teams had big weeks too. Just days after teammate Makenzie Fuess broke the Norwell single game scoring record, Kennedy Fuelling took it over with 40 points and 11 made threes Tuesday in a win over Concordia; she also scored 22 points Saturday in a win over Eastbrook.

Columbia City started their week Tuesday dispatching Goshen easily behind 21 points and four steals from Addison Baxter. Baxter then exploded Friday with 33 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four more steals in a blowout win against Bishop Luers.

The Double/Fuelling/Baxter matchups are so interesting coming up.

Other boys hoops tidbits

Bellmont boy’s Kord Fuelling had a breakout game Wednesday with 23 points in a win over Southern Wells….Canterbury‘s Devon Lewis scored 23 Wednesday in a narrow defeat after a big comeback against Central Noble. The Cavaliers scored just one first quarter point but outscored the Cougars the rest of the way….On Saturday, Huntington North boys held Mississinewa to single digit quarters twice, including giving up just one third quarter point in their 55-29 win over the Indians….Heritage played the first high school game at the old Harding High School in 11 years on Wednesday, getting a 47-37 win over Garrett behind Luke Saylor‘s 23 points….South Adams freshman Ty Lehman scored 19 points in Wednesday’s 57-49 win over Union City. Bounce is told that Lehman is one to keep a major eye on this season….Heritage boys are 2-0 for the first time since 2018.

Other girls hoops tidbits

Carroll put four girls in double digit scoring Tuesday, led by Jersey Paul‘s 15 with Taylor Fordyce, Lily George and Jaidyn Fuller each adding 13 points….Sydney Gorman hit seven three pointers in Monday’s win for Wayne over Canterbury….Central Noble girls are 8-0 after Tuesday’s win over Lakeland behind Madi Vice‘s 29 points….Renna Schwieterman continues to climb the ACAC scoring ladder, now just 18 points from the top 10 all-time….Kylie Caswell had two big games Saturday as Angola went 1-1. Caswell scored 22 in a loss to Northridge and 21 in a win over Concord….Kelsey Bergman of Garrett posted a triple double of 18 points, 23 rebounds and 11 blocks Saturday in a 45-35 win over Prairie Heights.

These opinions represent those of Bounce and Outside the Huddle. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. Follow Bounce on Twitter at Bounce_OTH

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