BOUNCE: Boys Hoops Power Poll for December 22

Blackhawk Christian’s Josh Furst works around the basket during a December 17 game against Chesterton at Grace. (Photo by Leverage Photography)

Between the holidays and the winter storm, the game schedule is going to be pretty erratic over the next week or so. Games are being moved up, moved back and shelved altogether with weather approaching by the end of the week.

But Bounce cannot allow Christmas to come without a pre-Santa look at the area power poll. While not much has changed at the top, there is plenty of movement elsewhere.

To this week’s top 10 we go.

No. 1 – Blackhawk Christian Braves

Records: 7-0

Previous rank: 1

Why #1?: Now the top-ranked team in the state in Class 2A, Blackhawk Christian continues to impress. The Braves edged a good Chesterton team by two over the weekend and dispatched of ranked Evansville Christian on Wednesday in the opening round of the Bobcat for Daviess County Classic. It is unknown if the event will be cut short with the winter storm heading in, but Blackhawk Christian could play Class 3A No. 2 North Daviess in what would be a big-time matchup.

A potential showdown between a battle of unbeatens looms with the Braves scheduled to take on West Noble next Friday at Trine.

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

Best win: Chesterton

No. 2 – Homestead Spartans

Records: 6-0, 2-0 SAC

Previous rank: 2

Why #2?: Over the last couple of years, we have had an individual player to hype up at Homestead. Two years ago, it was Illinois-bound Luke Goode. Last season it was Fletcher Loyer, who is now a big contributor as a true freshman for No. 1 ranked Purdue.

This Sparty squad doesn’t have that, although Grant Leeper’s football recruitment is blowing up.

That said, this is a balanced basketball team that is not dominant in any one area, but seems to not have many deficiencies as well.

Why not higher?: Blackhawk Christian has the better resume. Homestead has yet to face any heavy hitters from outside the area, something that will change next week at the Homestead Holiday Tournament on Dec. 28-29.

Best win: Warsaw

No. 3 – Concordia Lutheran Cadets

Records: 5-1, 2-0 SAC

Previous rank: 4

Why #4?: That is four straight dubs now for the Cadets, who beat Bishop Dwenger and New Haven on consecutive nights last weekend.

While the offense is sound with the likes of juniors Ajani Washington and Cole Hayworth, this is a team that is not scoring in bunches. In fact, its 52 ppg is third lowest in the SAC, ahead of only Bishop Dwenger (48.4) and Northrop (49). Might that be a factor as the season progresses?

A plus? This team’s ability to hit from the free throw line, with Concordia shooting at close to an 80 percent clip so far this year.

Why not higher?: Highest-ranked team with a loss. Come on now peeps!

Best win: Carroll

No. 4 – North Side Legends

Records: 5-3, 2-0 SAC

Previous rank: 3

Why #4?: The Legends had been rolling with five straight victories, but disaster struck last weekend when Jordan Green went down with an injury. Based on social media posts, it appears that the senior will be out for an extended period of time, if not the remainder of the season.

Green was playing at a phenomenal level on both ends of the floor and averaged a touch over 15 points per game, second only to Brauntae Johnson on the roster.

This Legends roster is full of juniors and seniors, so potentially someone steps up in Green’s absence, but Bounce had to drop North down after losing one of its top players.

Without him on Wednesday, North Side fell to Northridge. That’s not a good start without Green.

Why not higher?: Three losses and an injury to one of the team’s best players.

Best win: Warsaw

No. 5 – Warsaw Tigers

Records: 4-2, 1-0 NLC

Previous rank: 5

Why #5?: Credit to the Tigers for pushing around South Bend St. Joseph’s at the Champions of Character Classic last weekend. The 17-point victory was impressive considering the Indians had lost just once prior.

Warsaw will host its own two-day tournament next week with some heavy hitters on the event schedule.

Why not higher?: Two losses, both to teams higher than them in this poll.

Best win: South Bend St. Joseph’s

No. 6 – Norwell Knights

Records: 7-1, 1-0 NE8

Previous rank: 6

Why #6?: Ever since a one-point loss to Carroll to open the season, Norwell has run off seven-straight dubs by an average of 34 points per game. Now, the competition hasn’t been stellar, but still.

A year ago, Norwell benefitted tremendously from heading down to Noblesville for a tournament around the holidays. Coach Mike McBride’s team will do that again this season and will open up with Columbus North on Tuesday.

Why not higher?: Strength of schedule leaves something to be desired.

Best win: Oak Hill

No. 7 – Wayne Generals

Records: 6-1, 2-0 SAC

Previous rank: 8

Why #10?: The Generals are fast becoming perhaps the biggest threat to Homestead in the SAC. Consecutive wins over New Haven, Carroll and Columbia City have erased the taste of an unfortunate home loss to Fremont.

Coach Byron Pickens has a talented group that has proven to be clutch when it counts. Wayne is 3-1 in games decided by five points or less, including an overtime dub over Carroll last weekend.

A Jan. 6 road test at North Side looms.

Why not higher?: The aforementioned loss to Fremont at home.

Best win: Carroll

No. 8 – West Noble Chargers

Records: 7-0, 3-0 NECC

Previous rank: N/R

Why #7?: Do yourself a favor. Head to Trine next Friday night in what will likely be a battle undefeated squads as the Chargers take on Blackhawk Christian. Not only will you see a game between two ranked programs, you will get to see in action one of the best floor generals in the state in West Noble guard Austin Cripe.

The Chargers needed OT to dispatch of previously-undefeated Prairie Heights on Wednesday, but Cripe was huge in the dub, dropping 36 points in the overtime victory and in so doing became the program’s all-time leading scorer.

Why not higher?: The lack of any eye-opening victories in the greater northern Indiana area. You play the schedule you’re dealt of course.

Best win: Prairie Heights

No. 9 – Columbia City Eagles

Records: 6-2, 1-0 NE8

Previous rank: 6

Why #9?: Losses to Wayne and Warsaw do not dampen the enthusiasm that Bounce has for Columbia City. Maybe it is a case of still basking in the glow of Stratton Fuller’s three-quarter court shot to beat Carroll a few weeks ago.

But the next few weeks will be telling with games against Brownsburg and NorthWood away from home, coupled with league games at Bellmont and Huntington North. That is two really good teams and two squads capable of knocking off the Eagles if CC has an off night.

Right now, it feels like the Eagles are the biggest threat to Norwell in the NE8. Does that belief hold through the next few weeks?

Why not higher?: Two losses to teams above them in this poll, including a 20-point beatdown at the hands of No. 8 Wayne.

Best win: Carroll

No. 10 – Woodlan Warriors

Records: 8-1, 1-1 ACAC

Previous rank: N/R

Why #10?: Welcome to the party Warriors! Five straight victories has Coach John Baker’s squad cracking Bounce’s top 10 for the first time this year.

Many thought that with Joe Reidy off to Saint Francis that this squad would regress from the 16-win campaign of last year. Instead, Woodlan has gotten off to a fast start with its lone loss a weird setback to one-win Jay County on Dec. 2.

Alex Miller and Braden Smith have both been huge in the scoring department, but sophomore Trey Yoder has perhaps been the biggest catalyst in producing in the post with the departure of Reidy.

Why not higher?: Lack of a marquee win.

Best win: Leo

In the Conversation

Bishop Luers (4-3)

Carroll (2-3)

Leo (4-5)

Prairie Heights (7-1)

Fremont (6-2)

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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