WELL LOOK AT FREMONT
For the first time in seven seasons, Fremont has started 6-1 with wins last week against Wayne and Angola, two massive successes for the program.
Fremont made a major power move on Tuesday by going to Wayne and upsetting the SAC front runner Generals. The Eagles hit 13 three pointers in the win and it shows that just because you know how to stop them (aka stop the shooters) doesn’t mean you actually can stop them.
Ethan Bontrager getting to show what he’s all about in front of a SAC crowd is great. He had great battles with Wayne’s Monte Smith in the past and stuff like that really pushes Bontrager. He scored 25 and looked as smooth as he has all season. Conner Slee was also big time shooting the ball and was the one that iced the game at the free throw line in the closing seconds of the 66-63 win.
Credit to for the interior play of Fremont. Gage Cope had some big time blocks and Bryce Parnin rebounded the ball extremely well. Matching those two up with the perimeter play of Fremont is great when they are all clicking.
On Saturday, the Eagles picked up another monster win over rival Angola. It was one Bounce knows was circled on some of the Fremont players’ calendars for some time and the game did not disappoint in Fremont. Dane Lantz missed a three at the buzzer to help Fremont win 55-52.
In that one, Slee and Brody Foulk each scored 14 while Cope joined them in double figures with 10 points.
WHO IS LOOKING UP IN THE SAC
Let me lay these names on you on the boys side: North Side, Wayne, Homestead and Snider. In no particular order.
North Side has gone 5-0 after a rough start. Sure they challenged themselves with a hard start but the opening loss to Cathedral was one that had us worried. Since then, they have staved off a lot of teams who threw their best games at the Legends. On Friday, they beat sometimes rival Snider with Eugene Young putting up an 11 points/10 rebound double double with six blocks.
A little birdy told me I was on Wayne’s hate list after my boys hoops power poll last week. Maybe I was a little harsh in their ranking, maybe I wasn’t. We can all disagree but the important fact now isn’t the loss to Fremont, which was the important fact then. The important fact now is that coach Byron Pickens‘ team rallied from that upset loss to win three games in four days, erasing a lot of memory for them of their early week letdown. Chase Barnes looked great in Tuesday’s loss, scoring a game high 28 points, then Monte Smith dropped 23 on Wednesday in a win over New Haven. HJ Dillard scored before the buzzer in overtime on Friday to give another heartbreaking end to Carroll; he finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Barnes returned to the leading scorer mark on Saturday in a 20 point win over Columbia City with 20 points of his own. It was a wild week for Wayne, but they rallied hard to go 3-1.
We knew Homestead would contend but Bounce wants to focus on one of the things. First, yes this is a team that is playing well as a team, but c’mon are Kyron Kaopuiki and Will Jamison going crazy? Kaopuiki scored a career best 31 points Friday by hitting eight three pointers while Jamison added a career best 24 in the win over Bishop Luers.
Snider lost twice this week, but for a team that some (not me) had picked to finished 9th or 10th in the SAC, I think they proved some people wrong. They were right there with North Side on Friday night and even looked like the better team in parts of the first half.
On the girls side, I just have one name I want you to think about right now and that takes us back to Snider. Similar to the North Side boys, a couple of early season struggles had people down on Snider. But they have done a tremendous job to erase that. While Jordyn Poole has been fantastic and the pure shot blocking presence alone of Tia Phinezy is huge, the reemergence of Johnea Donahue has been a major catalyst. Even early in the season, its not like Donahue wasn’t good, but there was something missing and she has course corrected well becoming again the biggest defensive asset in the area, arguably. She registered 12 steals (to go with 17 points) in a win over East Noble last week.
This week saw the draw for the ACAC Tournament, and the announcement that the championship trophy will now be named after the Dean of Sports himself, Mr. Dean Pantazi.
But the draw aside, I am excited about the possibility of a Woodlan/Jay County rematch on the girls side. Yes, the first time was a blowout, 60-22, in the Patriots favor. But with Woodlan really playing good basketball right now, there is something that tells me it could be a more fun game the second time around. It probably holds the most intrigue and weight of any game in the ACAC Tournament, but it certainly does on the girls side of things and it would be the title game should it happen. Taylor Kneubuhler had 30 points on Saturday in a win over Heritage for Woodlan, adding to their scoring depth.
On the boys side, the 100th year of the tournament will carry a lot of excitement because of that 100 year mark and the fact that the conference is decidedly wide open. Heritage, Adams Central and Jay County are all on the bottom of the bracket and if everyone is healthy, it could make for a really solid quarterfinal and semi final round. Woodlan has themselves in a great spot up top and the Warriors may be one of the more surprising early success stories in the area after having to replace their all time leading scorer to graduation.
Bailey Kelham became the Garrett girls all-time leading scorer on Tuesday, passing Brandi Dawson. Kelham scored 30 in the win to go with 12 rebounds. It also made her 10th on DeKalb County’s all-time scoring list, one she has a chance of becoming top three on by the end of the season. Dawson helped honor Kelham on Thursday when Garrett returned to their home court; Kelham then scored 19 with 13 rebounds and five steals in a win over Concordia. Kelham also now sits 276 points from first place in Garrett scoring history, regardless of gender.
Taylor Double of Huntington North set a new program record for career three point shots recently as well. Her 126th three point make came against Marion and broke the 21 year old record of Jaime Grogg.
Jay County‘s Renna Schweiterman became Jay County’s career scoring leader on Thursday in a monster Patriot win over New Castle. Her 27 points that night pushed her to 1,459 in her career. No other Patriot, female or male, has ever scored as many points as Schwieterman.
Ethan Poling of Adams Central passed the 1,000 point mark on Friday against Woodlan. He became the 59th ACAC boys player and the 7th Adams Central player to reach the mark.
Luke Saylor of Heritage moved to the 22nd spot on the ACAC’s all-time scoring list Friday with 22 points. It moved him by the 1200 point mark to 1,218 total. Saylor is also 12 points from the Heritage boys basketball career scoring record.
Chris Johnson, the coach of the Homestead boys, sits at 399 total wins after the week. He goes for win 400 on Tuesday opposite Leo.
Darrion Brooks of New Haven (978 points) and Chase Bachelor of Prairie Heights (961 points) both could hit 1,000 before the end of 2022. Madi Vice of Central Noble (936) is also on the prowl on the girls side.
Luke McBride of Norwell now sits 327 points from the all-time Norwell boys basketball scoring record.
OTHER GIRLS HOOPS NOTES
Concordia‘s Annaka Nelson added to the 260 buzzer beater counter with a first quarter buzzer beating shot at Garrett Thursday….Meghan Kiebel of Central Noble tied a career high with 26 points Friday in a win over West Noble….The Eastside girls are off to their first ever 6-0 start in the NECC.
OTHER BOYS HOOPS NOTES
West Noble won the battle with rival Central Noble on Friday to break the tie in their all-time series dating back to 1968….Landon Herbert added to the buzzer beaters on Friday as the Angola player hit one to boost his team by Westview at thebuzzer 53-51….East Noble/Columbia City was an instant classic on Friday going three overtimes. East Noble trailed by 17 at one point. Columbia City’s Andrew Hedrick scored the first ever Eagle triple double in the win with 31 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists….Blackhawk Christian pulled off a big win at Grace College on Saturday as Josh Furstscored 25 and had 10 rebounds in a 70-68 win over 4A power Chesterton.
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