BOUNCE: Boys Hoops Power Poll for December 8

Blackhawk Christian’s Isaac Smith defends during a November 26 game against North Side. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

We kick into gear with the first boys basketball power poll of the regular season. After our preseason top 10, we let things percolate on the boys side for a couple of weeks. And boy, do we have some changes.

Each week, Bounce will do his best to rank the top 10 teams in the area.

Let’s get after it.

No. 1 – Blackhawk Christian Braves

Records: 2-0

Previous rank: 6

Why #1?: Coach Matt Roth’s squad vaults up to the top spot after a pair of wins over two teams with high aspirations this season- North Side and New Haven. Kellen Pickett has been a revelation through two games with the sophomore averaging 18 points.

The Braves hit the road for the first time this weekend at Lafayette Central Catholic, with a game at South Side looming next week.

Why not higher?: It doesn’t get better.

Best win: North Side

No. 2 – Homestead Spartans

Records: 2-0, 0-0 SAC

Previous rank: 3

Why #2?: The “will he or won’t he” regarding Grant Leeper and his decision on whether to play basketball or not was in the mind of OTH when it ranked the Spartans No. 3 in the preseason. With Leeper in the fold, Sparty may be the best team in the SAC.

While Leeper has been steady, it has been the scoring ability of junior Will Jamison that has really been a surprise for Homestead. At this point, we shouldn’t be shocked when a guy comes out of nowehere to be the next big contributor for Coach Chris Johnson’s squad, yet here we are.

A doubleheader this weekend will be telling for Homestead with a home matchup against Bishop Dwenger followed by a road test at New Haven.

Why not higher?: Small sample size.

Best win: Warsaw

No. 3 – Wayne Generals

Records: 2-0, 0-0 SAC

Previous rank: 5

Why #3?: At 2-0, the Generals are off to a solid start. In fact, it is the first year since 2015 in which Wayne has won its first two games.

Both of the dubs have been impressive – road wins at Leo and Culver Academy. This is still a young squad, although senior Monte Smith Jr. currently leads the squad in scoring.

Considering this team only won four games a season ago, this is a fine start.

Why not higher?: Top three is pretty solid for a team that has promise but has a lot still to prove.

Best win: Culver Academy

No. 4 – North Side Legends

Records: 1-2, 0-0 SAC

Previous rank: 1

Why #4?: It hasn’t been an overly impressive first two weeks for North Side, which began the year No. 1 in our rankings. Cathedral is arguably the best team in the state, but a 48-point loss by the Legends to open the season against the Fighting Irish was a disaster.

The Legends got their first win by knocking off DeKalb. We will see if that’s the start of a run.

Why not higher?: Two losses.

Best win: DeKalb

No. 5 – Concordia Lutheran Cadets

Records: 2-1; 0-0 SAC

Previous rank: 4

Why #5?: The Cadets will begin their home slate at a revamped ‘Cage’ this Friday against Carroll in a battle of a pair of SAC upstarts. The growing pains of a young lineup appears to be paying dividends this year as juniors Cole Hayworth and Ajani Washington are two of the squad’s leading scorers.

Why not higher?: A lopsided loss to NorthWood is one of a number of defeats to top teams suffered by SAC squads early this year.

Best win: Leo

No. 6 – Carroll Chargers

Records: 2-0, 0-0 SAC

Previous rank: 9

Why #6?: The Chargers have the most impressive win out of anyone in the top six – a narrow victory over Norwell to open the season.

Even more crazy, Carroll has already matched his win total from all of last year.

There is no question that the Chargers are improved in Year 2 under Coach Ryan Abbott. Just how much better? We will find out this weekend with a showdown on the road at Concordia Lutheran followed by a road trip to Columbias City.

Why not higher?: Still a bit early to vault Carroll into the top 5. It can surely make the case with two dubs this weekend.

Best win: Norwell

No. 7 – Norwell Knights

Records: 3-1, 0-0 NE8

Previous rank: 2

Why #7?: Despite a precipitous drop from the No. 2 spot, Norwell will be just fine going forward. It is impossible to predict the opening game of the season, and the Knights have followed up the Carroll loss with a trio of routs.

Luke McBride recently moved to No. 3 in the all-time scoring list for Norwell, quite the accomplishment for the senior.

Why not higher?: This could be too much of a freefall for Norwell when Bounce revisits it later. We just don’t know how good (or bad) or a loss that was to Carroll.

Best win: Oak Hill

No. 8 – Warsaw Tigers

Records: 2-1, 0-0 NLC

Previous rank: N/R

Why #8?: The Tigers struggled on the road at Homestead, but own victories over Columbia City and Huntington North. Jaxson Gould has been an offensive force early this season.

Why not higher?: A road game at North Side this weekend could see the Tigers rise higher with a victory.

Best win: Columbia City

No. 9 – Columbia City Eagles

Records: 3-1, 0-0 NE8

Previous rank: No. 7

Why #9?: Since dropping a late-November game to Warsaw, the Eagles have bounced back with dominant wins over Canterbury and Churubusco. The victory over ‘Busco was particularly impressive, a 91-38 rout.

Columbia City has an impressive one-two punch at guard with senior Andrew Hetrick and sophomore Stratton Fuller. The duo combined for 48 points in the win over Churubusco.

Columbia City visits Carroll on Saturday.

Why not higher?: The three wins for Columbia City have come against teams that are a combined 2-8.

Best win: Canterbury

No. 10 – West Noble Chargers

Records: 4-0, 0-0 NECC

Previous rank: No. 10

Why #10?: Austin Cripe and company have owned the early part of the season to the tune of four victories – including a rout of Concord on Wednesday night.

Bounce is already excited about seeing West Noble take on Blackhawk Christian at Trine University on December 30. Opportunities for West Noble to prove itself against some of the top squads around are limited. That showdown will be telling.

Why not higher?: Lack of victories over top opponents.

Best win: Wawasee

In the Conversation

Bishop Luers (2-1)

Snider (1-0)

Bishop Dwenger (0-1)

Leo (2-3)

New Haven (1-2)

Prairie Heights (4-0)

Central Noble (2-0)

Westview (2-1)

Woodlan (4-1)

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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