Now that the high school football season is officially over, we can put our full attention on basketball. And if you’re arriving late to the party, you’ve missed some good games so far. But don’t you worry, this week is filled with more fantastic hardwood matchups.
Here’s the weekly installment of my power rankings.
Girls No. 1 Angola
Record: 6-2, 3-0 NECC
Last week: 1
The Hornets picked up two quality wins last week, including one of my games of the week against Garrett. It was a battle all the way throughout, but Angola was able to knock down its free throws in a low-scoring affair. The Hornets also beat Northridge and Concord at the NECC-NLC Classic at Fairfield on Saturday. The 45-37 victory of the Minutemen is the more impressive win, as they were unbeaten coming into the matchup.
No. 2 Garrett
Record: 5-1, 1-1 NECC
Last week: 2
The Railroaders bounced back after the loss to Angola with a 10-point win over Prairie Heights on Saturday. Freshman Bailey Kelham continues to impress and continues to score at a high rate. She has scored more than 15 points in all six games and is getting to the free-throw line at a high frequency. Once there, she is an 86% shooter. Oh, she also leads the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game.
No. 3 Central Noble
Record: 5-1, 3-0 NECC
Last week: 3
The Cougars look like a pretty dangerous team at the moment. They played their most complete game so far this season in a 56-38 win over Lakeland last Tuesday. But Central Noble will take on two very good teams this week, at Goshen tonight and Angola at home on Friday. More on that second game later.
No. 4 Eastside
Record: 4-1, 1-1 NECC
Last week: 5
The Blazers do move up a spot even though they were off last week. They also have a tough week of opponents with Woodlan (6-1) coming to Butler tonight and a rivalry game at Garrett on Saturday.
No. 5 Fremont
Record: 3-4, 1-2 NECC
Last week: Not ranked
The Eagles are finally on the winning side of some of these close games they’ve been playing. Beating West Noble last Friday was the final straw to put them in my top five over the Chargers. Fremont’s four losses have all been by seven points or less. Can they continue this trend of winning close games instead of losing them? This bovine believes so.
Others considered: West Noble, Churubusco, Lakewood Park.
Boys No. 1 Westview
Last week: 1
What a way to start your season! Ben Byrkett hits a game-winning three as time expired to give Westview a 59-58 win at Northridge. It was Byrkett’s only basket of the game and it came at the right time. His shot may have overshadowed Charlie Yoder’s double-double of 34 points and 12 rebounds, but I don’t think Yoder minds.
No. 2 Prairie Heights
Record: 2-0, 1-0 NECC
Last week: 2
Speaking of impressive plays. If you haven’t seen Elijah Malone’s transition dunk during the Panthers’ win at Garrett over the weekend, go ahead and log on to Twitter and go to my account, listed at the bottom of the article, and watch Malone throw down a very impressive slam.
Also, the Panthers won their first two games of the season.
No. 3 Churubusco
Last week: 3
The Eagles didn’t have a game during the opening week because their game with Adams Central was postponed to Jan. 21 because of the Flying Jets’ football team playing deep into the postseason. Churubusco will play its first game against Leo on Wednesday.
No. 4 Central Noble
Last week: 4
The good news from last week was the Cougars beat Canterbury by one point last Tuesday. The bad news was they lost Lucas Deck for the rest of the season. The senior, who recently signed to play at Indiana Tech, tore his ACL and is out for the season. It’s a tough break for Deck and Central Noble.
No. 5 Angola
Last week: 5
The Hornets opened their season with a 45-36 win against an improved Wawasee team on Saturday. Joel Knox led all scorers with 16 points and Dyer Ball finished with seven. It was Angola’s fifth straight win over the Warriors.
Others considered: West Noble, Lakewood Park, DeKalb, East Noble.
Games of the week
Last week: 2-0
Angola girls at Central Noble, Friday
Both teams are playing very well right now, and both are on five-game winning streaks. Both teams can defend well and force turnovers. It’ll come down to which team can make shots. I’ll give the slight edge to the Cougars. Hannah picks Central Noble.
Angola boys at Central Noble, Friday
I would feel different about this matchup if the Cougars were at full strength. The Hornets are going to try and make this one ugly. If they are successful, they will win. I think they do. Hannah picks Angola.
Churubusco boys at Westview, Friday
Going into the Warrior Dome can be intimidating. I don’t think this Churubusco team will be frightened by the crowd for Westview’s home opener. I expect Charlie Yoder to have big game and for the Eagles to be right there until the end. Hannah picks Westview.
Eastside girls at Garrett, Saturday
This rivalry game will be a fun one to watch. I think the Railroaders have established themselves as one of the top teams in the NECC, but it’s also a chance for the Blazers to show where they are in relation to the top teams in the conference. Hannah picks Garrett.