With most girls team seasons ending this past week, it is time to dial in on boys season and that means looking at the races for conference titles which may soon be sewn up.
This could immediately get flipped on its head with first place Homestead hosting top contender Wayne on Tuesday in what in the preseason we thought could have big title implications. Turns out, it may have the biggest.
Right now, Homestead sits in first place at 6-0 but of their three remaining SAC games, they get the two 5-1 teams in the Generals and Concordia. And Wayne and Concordia? Well they meet each other still too on February 17 so things are going to get very interesting very quickly in the SAC.
Homestead can win by winning out against those two and a trip to always dangerous rival Carroll (tied for 4th place).
The SAC is too early to call for Homestead, Wayne or Concordia. And with three games left each, its possible that all of those teams end up with 2 conference losses which means North Side or Carroll, both sitting at 4-2, could climb back into this title race. Those two teams also face off on February 7 so one of them will be eliminated from title contention then.
Just yesterday we got major clarity into this one when Norwell visited Columbia City in an afternoon game. Nothing like a girls Sectional finals Saturday afternoon game to potentially be the difference in the conference title race.
Norwell’s win moved them to 6-0 in conference with just one NE8 game remaining.
The Knights will now look ahead to February 10’s game hosting Huntington North to clinch the outright NE8 title with a win.
That said, neither of these teams is in or out on the title yet since the NE8 doesn’t break ties so sitting at one loss isn’t a bad thing. You can however count the rest of the conference out of this because Saturday’s final may give one of these teams the advantage but it is still only a two team race in the NE8.
Redick Zolman is the one that basically has put an end to this conference’s title conversation. And that’s the Central Noble player doing it for the county rival. On Thursday, Zolman sank two free throws with virtually no time left to beat Prairie Heights and give the Panthers their second NECC loss of the year.
Meanwhile that same night, West Noble stayed perfect by giving Westview their second conference loss of the season behind Austin Cripe’s 19 points. That means the Chargers have a two game lead on the field with two NECC games left: 6th place Angola and 10th place Garrett.
West Noble would have to lose both of those games just to share the conference title. If they win one of those, starting with Angola on February 18, then the Chargers will have an outright title guaranteed.
Currently, Prairie Heights, Westview and Central Noble each have two NECC losses so they are battling for second place amongst themselves unless the Chargers happen to get upset.
There is a logjam at the top of the ACAC as Adams Central, Jay County and Heritage all sit 4-1 in conference with just just one conference game remaining each.
On Friday, February 10, this conference will be decided. Adams Central has a simple situation: win and you claim a share of the title. Lose and you are out of the equation. The Flying Jets should be happy then to know that they are facing county rival South Adams, who is 1-4 in conference and just 2-16 overall. With how Isaac Schultz and Ethan Poling have been playing and coming off a nice road win last weekend at Leo, AC is in the ACAC drivers seat.
Heritage will visit Jay County that same night and the winner of that game is guaranteed at least a share of the ACAC title. The loser? Well they are out of the title equation themselves.
Either way, we are days away from an ACAC champion but we could still be dealing with a two-team share or, in the event of an Adams County upset, an outright champion from the battle of the Patriots.
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