Byrkett

Ben Byrkett, right, and the Westview boys are No. 1 in this week’s power rankings from Hannah Holstein.

With the sun actually popping out from behind the dark, gray clouds the last couple of days, it made me happy to think that the girls sectionals are getting started today. Make sure to go read my preview with all of the favorites to win, along with some contenders and dark horses.

This will be the final week of the girls power rankings while the boys will continue on for a couple of more weeks.

Girls

No. 1 Angola

Record: 21-2, 10-0 NECC

Last week: 1

I’m going to keep this short. They’ve been the best team all season, and it should come as no surprise they are here in the final rankings. Expect a deep tournament run from this team.

No. 2 Central Noble

Record: 13-8, 7-3 NECC

Last week: 2

The win over Churubusco was closer than expected, which does worry me a little bit going into sectionals this week. The Cougars can make it to the championship game on Saturday, but a really good NorthWood team could be in their way from a fourth straight sectional championship.

No. 3 Lakeland

Record: 14-8, 7-3 NECC

Last week: 4

The Lakers only had one game last week, and it was a solid win over Garrett. In the win, they showed they could get it without a lot of scoring from Bailey Hartsough, who only had five points. If the surrounding pieces around Hartsough can step up in the postseason, this team could be dangerous.

No. 4 Garrett

Record: 14-8, 5-5 NECC

Last week: 3

The Railroaders have struggled the last couple of weeks, losing four of their last five games. But like all of their losses this season, they’ve been five points or less. They’re still one of the best defensive teams in the area, but they need to find some scoring real quick.

No. 5 Eastside

Record: 16-6, 5-5 NECC

Last week: 5

After hanging on to the final spot last week, the Blazers finished their final week of the regular season strong with a couple of solid wins over Heritage and Westview. Eastside should be considered the favorite in the Class 2A Bluffton Sectional, but two teams from Adams County could be in its way.

Others considered: Fremont.

Boys

No. 1 Westview

Record: 13-3, 7-1 NECC

Last week: 2

Other than the loss to Prairie Heights in the NECC Tournament, the Warriors were barely tested last month. Now, that could be the level of competition they’ve played or Westview is starting to come into the shape of the typical Westview teams we see every year. There are still couple of games on the schedule where they should be tested, including next Friday’s game at Prairie Heights.

No. 2 Central Noble

Record: 14-4, 5-2 NECC

Last week: 1

The Cougars dropped from the No. 1 spot after the loss to Churubusco. Granted, it was a hostile environment that they went into, and the Eagles are playing really well at the moment. Central Noble has a chance to move back up with a game against Prairie Heights this Thursday at home.

No. 3 Prairie Heights

Record: 13-3, 6-1 NECC

Last week: 3

Maybe the Panthers took what I said last week to heart, because they took their frustrations out on Fremont with a 46-point win. That’s the type of Heights squad I’ve expected and have seen for most of the season.

No. 4 Churubusco

Record: 8-6, 5-1 NECC

Last week: 4

The Eagles would have moved up in the rankings if it weren’t for their collapse in the final 45 seconds against Snider last Tuesday. To lose a 10-point lead in that span is shocking, but they did rebound with a good win over Central Noble.

No. 5 East Noble

Record: 8-7, 3-2 NE8

Last week: 5

The Knights hung with the best team in the Northeast 8, but couldn’t without the best player in the conference. East Noble was outscored 10-5 while Norwell’s Will Geiger was on the bench. If it was the other way around, the loss might have turned into a win.

Others considered: Angola, Lakewood Park.

Games of the week

Last week: 1-2

Overall: 23-12

Two straight losing weeks. Something’s got to change. With no more girls games to pick, I’m going to pick just the boys from here on out. To get out of this funk, I’m going to pick more than three games.

Concordia at Angola, Thursday

The Cadets have struggled against some of the better teams in the area, I think that bodes well for the Hornets, who will keep this game in 40s. Hannah picks Angola.

Fremont at Adams Central, Thursday

The Eagles are in need of a good win after losing badly to Prairie Heights Friday, then to Lakewood Park at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday. Hannah picks Fremont.

Prairie Heights at Central Noble, Thursday

A rematch of the NECC championship game, and I expect a similar crowd on hand in Albion on Thursday. Will the Cougars be just as hot from outside again or will it be the Panthers who find their stroke? Hannah picks Prairie Heights.

East Noble at Lakeland, Saturday

Two really good scorers in Brayden Bontrager and Hayden Jones should be enough to go out and see this matchup Saturday afternoon. Hannah picks East Noble.

Plymouth at Westview, Saturday

The Warriors are really rolling right now, and the Pilgrims have struggled to beat good teams this season. Hannah picks Westview.

Hannah Holstein is KPC Media Group’s sports prognosticating cow. She can be reached at hannahholstein@kpcmedia.com or on Twitter at WondercowKPC.

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