There is only a few weeks of regular season basketball left, which means the stakes are getting higher. There were a few performances from this past week that need to be highlighted, as well as a game this week that could shake up the Northeast Corner Conference race.
Here’s this week’s power rankings.
Boys No. 1 Westview
Record: 15-3, 8-1 NECC
Last week: 1
I thought there was a chance that the Warriors wouldn’t be tested before their big matchup against Prairie Heights this Friday. They were pushed by West Noble last Thursday, but finally pulled away for another double-digit win, which is the case for all of their wins during their current six-game winning streak. More on the game against the Panthers in a bit.
No. 2 Central Noble
Record: 14-4, 5-2 NECC
Last week: 2
The Cougars only had one game last week, and it was on Feb. 3 against Bethany Christian. After a slow start, it was Connor Essegian who saved the day for Central Noble, turning a one-point, halftime deficit into a 30-point win. The sophomore set a school record of 10 made three-pointers in a game on his way to scoring 40 points.
To make a correction, Essegian’s big scoring game was not a school record. That is still held by Kirk Hanaway, who scored 43 points in a game in the early 1970s.
No. 3 Churubusco
Record: 9-6, 6-1 NECC
Last week: 4
A few Churubusco Eagles retweeted my power rankings on Twitter last week and they were not happy with their place. They took out their frustrations on Lakeland by scoring 100 points and winning by 40 points. That’s good enough to move up at least one spot this week. Is that good enough for Jackson Paul and Landen Jordan? I’ll be waiting in my mentions.
No. 4 Prairie Heights
Record: 13-3, 6-1 NECC
Last week: 3
The Panthers had the week off after their game with Central Noble was postponed to Feb. 19. Their next two weeks are very important if they want to come away with an NECC title.
No. 5 East Noble
Record: 9-7, 3-2 NE8
Last week: 5
The Knights continue to get contributions from multiple players. They had five players score eight or more points in their 60-52 win over Lakeland on Saturday. In their last six games of the regular season, they face four teams with a winning record.
Others considered: Angola, Lakewood Park.
Games of the Week
Last week: 2-1
I had my first winning week in a couple of weeks, and I could have had more if Mother Nature didn’t get in the way, forcing a few games to be postponed. However, I’m still trying to boost my overall record by picking more than just three games this week.
Whitko at Central Noble, Tuesday
This one should be a fun watch. Both of these teams like to put up points. I think the Cougars are a better defensive team and that will win them this game. Hannah picks Central Noble.
Bishop Dwenger at East Noble, Wednesday
Don’t let the Saints’ 3-14 record fool you, they’ve played some of the best teams in the area and the state. Expect a close one in The Big Blue Pit. Hannah picks East Noble.
Bellmont at DeKalb, Thursday
Both teams desperately need a win. The Braves have lost five in a row while the Barons have dropped nine straight. Hannah picks DeKalb.
Fairfield at Fremont, Friday
First team to 40 points wins this game. The Falcons like to play a slow pace, but if the Eagles are the team that can dictate the tempo, then they have a chance. Hannah picks Fairfield.
Westview at Prairie Heights, Friday
Save the best for last. One point separated these two teams in the semifinals of the NECC Tournament. I expect another close game and an exciting atmosphere in Brushy Prairie. Hannah picks Westview.