What is on the line
Absolutely nothing. What a way to start, am I right?!
A win or a loss will not do anything here. Either team’s standing in the area doesn’t change unless this game turns into an unexpected blowout. Likewise, it clearly has no barring on SAC or NLC standings.
So why is this the game of the week? The talent involved is top notch and what is on the line really is a further establishment of that.
Despite his stellar junior season and the fact that Warsaw is a quick drive from Fort Wayne, it is fair to say that not enough people that focus on the SAC know enough about Jaxson Gould. He is as good of a scorer as anyone in this area and can make it happen against any team, any night. Gould could really gain some bigger and deserved recognition with a big night against the Spartans. So too could Drew Heckaman, coming off a great opening night performance a week ago for the Tigers.
Homestead too has guys that could make a big impact. Can Grant Leeper show some dominating skills on the interior? Will Jamison, who scored 15 in Homestead’s opener, is really capable of pouring on the points as a lead wing and his defense is wholly underrated. If Jamison could have a good night defensively against the fundamental scoring threats of Warsaw, that is important for his visibility too.
So while nothing is really on the line in the win-loss column, there are still things to consider.
Also, Homestead has won the last 11 matchups of the two programs, including by 22 last December when both rosters looked a bit different.
What we know about Homestead
Fairly, not a lot. The Spartans’ one game was a 53-14 beatdown of a rebuilding Huntington North on Thanksgiving Eve. Then they waited over a week for a second game.
Kyron Kaopuiki was good in that one, as expected. Will Jamison started to insert himself into people’s minds a nice scorer for this also kind of rebuilding Spartans teams. But what else do you really learn in a blowout? Grant Leeper shot the ball just once, making his single shot and also securing seven rebounds in the game.
But Homestead has a whole has not had to extend themselves much. So we don’t know much about the Spartans heading into Friday’s game. Somehow, it makes it all more interesting.
What we know about Warsaw
Also with just one game under the belt heading into this one, we know Warsaw is capable of big defensive spurts. The way they outscored Columbia City in their opening game during the second and third quarters is really what propelled them to victory.
The Tigers didn’t do anything huge offensively per say, but winning those quarters 17-11 and 20-13 pushed them to a comfortable win. So nobody can get lax in the middle periods because Warsaw has shown they can keep a consistent pace.
Sophomore Luke Bricker is a new Tiger name to really know about as well. While the expected suspects of Jaxson Gould and Drew Heckaman did the most damage against Columbia City, Bricker put in 15 points himself.
Players to Watch
Drew Heckaman, Warsaw
Heckaman led Warsaw’s win over Columbia City with a game high 24 points. We knew he could produce offensively, but to come out day one and take the lead over guys like Jaxson Gould and Columbia City’s Andrew Hedrick shows that Heckaman is a force right now. His production against the Eagles is important come this game with Homestead because now the Spartans know they are dealing with more than just one big time scorer in the Tiger lineup.
Kyron Kaopuiki, Homestead
Kaopuiki can set the type of pace the game needs to be played at. He shot 6-13 for 22 points against Huntington North and having his way with the Vikings was easy. But the point, more than what he scored was his tempo production. Kaopuiki positioned himself well as he knocked down five three pointers.
This is a really fun matchup that has the potential to either be firework scoring laden or a defensive showdown with the final in the 40s. That is really the exciting piece here that it could go either way.
And who wins could go either way too. This game could very easily come down to who gets hot. Homestead is ranked higher in our area and higher in the state, but that doesn’t mean Warsaw is an easy blow by.
In the end, I think that Homestead just has too much depth even though Warsaw has the best player on the court. Don’t hate me if I’m wrong Tiger fans…well don’t hate me if I’m right either.
Bounce picks Homestead
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