Here are five things surrounding prep basketball in the Fort Wayne-area that fans will learn this weekend:
1. How does Justin Mitchell match up with the Scott boys?
There seems to be some buzz about the Generals heading into the opening Friday of conference matchups in the SAC. At 3-0, Wayne definitely has some momentum heading into a showdown with Northrop this weekend, although the competition has been less than stellar. Leading the way is junior guard Justin Mitchell, one of the more underrated players in the area. Mitchell does a lot of the same things well that Brenton and Bryson Scott do, can score from inside and out, get to the rim for rebounds and quick enough to get into the passing lanes. Mitchell and the Generals can garner even more attention if they overcome the third-ranked Bruins on Friday.
2. Can Columbia City wake up the echoes?
Life was good in 2004 in Columbia City. Under Coach Chris Benedict, the Eagles went 25-4 and advanced to its first, and only, state championship game. That year was also the last time the program began the year 5-0. Columbia City will have a chance to match that on Saturday when it hosts Marion (1-2). This reporter does not understand why the Eagles, who won 17 games a year ago and return nearly all of their production, are not garnering a single vote in the Class 4A AP poll. Marion is not the program it once was, but beating the Giants impressively on Saturday should earn Columbia City some votes.
3. Will either Leo or New Haven hit 100 points?
You want to see high-scoring, up-tempo basketball, make sure you park your butt in a seat at New Haven on Saturday night. Last year in this matchup, the Bulldogs went for 99 in a 36-point rout. Two years ago, Leo edged New Haven 98-96. Count on another big-time scoring night out of at least one of these teams.
4. Can Bishop Dwenger knock off Concordia Lutheran again?
The Cadets remember losing to Bishop Dwenger last year in the sectional opener, and the Saints only lost to Concordia by two in the regular season last year. Couple that with the Saints putting a huge scare into the third-ranked team in Class 3A in Norwell on Tuesday before falling by three and Coach Matt Kostoff's team looks poised to at least give Concordia another tough matchup on Friday. The Cadets have visions of an SAC crown, dropping its league opener like it did last year would not be a good start.
5. Will Carroll crack the win column?
There was plenty of positive energy surrounding the Chargers basketball program entering this season, but a four-game losing skid to begin the year has softened the expectations. But look closer and you will see that Carroll is not in as bad of a position as its record indicates. The combined record of the Chargers' first four opponents (South Bend Adams, Noblesville, Concordia and Northrop) is 10-1. The Chargers played evenly with Northrop for a half on Tuesday and is developing some additional scorers to take the pressure off of sophomore Chandler White. A home date with Huntington North, itself a positive story at 3-1, on Saturday presents a good shot at getting victory No. 1.