Welcome to the final week of the regular season for boys basketball. It makes me sad, but only for a split second. Because I know what next week brings. Sectional championships.
Next week, I’ll have my final power rankings of the season with some awards to hand out and my sectional preview with favorites, contenders and a dark horse in each area sectional.
Here’s this week’s rankings.
No. 1 Central Noble
Last week: 1
Record: 21-1, 9-1 NECC
The Cougars didn’t miss a beat. They returned to the court last Wednesday after two weeks off and defeated Whitko by 16 points. Central Noble finished off its week with three Northeast Corner Conference wins in two days and are just a misstep away by Westview tonight to having a chance to claim a share of the NECC regular season championship. The Cougars play Fairfield on Friday night.
Sharing the NECC title would be nice for the Cougars, but they have their eyes on a bigger prize at next week’s sectional. Right now, they are the ones to beat.
No. 2 Churubusco
Last week: 2
Record: 16-3, 7-2 NECC
The Eagles continue to win games against inferior competition by double digits. They won three games last week over Lakeland, Fairfield and Whitko all by more than 19 points.
Churubusco has a couple of opportunities this week to make me consider them as one of the favorites in next week’s Class 2A sectional at Westview, of which they are the defending champions. The Eagles travel to Fort Wayne North Side tonight, and are at Garrett Thursday and welcome Eastside on Friday.
No. 3 Westview
Last week: 3
Record: 16-4, 10-0 NECC
The Warriors have already claimed a share of their fifth straight NECC regular season championship, but they have a chance to win it outright with a contest against a pesky Fremont squad tonight.
With a win, it would be Westview’s 18th outright NECC championship and 29th overall, 17 more than the next team in the conference, which is Lakeland with 12 overall.
No. 4 West Noble
Last week: Not ranked
Record: 10-9, 5-4 NECC
The Chargers are picking up steam before hosting a Class 3A Sectional next week. They dismantled Angola by 20 points on Saturday night and have a good chance to pick up another pair of wins this week. They are a little beat up with some guys missing time, but as long as Austin Cripe is in the starting lineup, I like this team’s chances.
No. 5 Angola
Last week: 5
Record: 11-11, 6-4 NECC
The Hornets barely hang on to their spot in the rankings. The win over Eastside was enough to do so, because the loss at home to West Noble was that won’t be talked about for too long by Angola fans. The Hornets have some work to do this week before the postseason with games against East Noble and Lakeland. Neither is a guarantee for Angola.
Others considered: Eastside, Lakeland.