Here are five things about prep basketball in the Fort Wayne area that fans will learn this weekend:
1. Some clarity in the NHC.
Things began to come into focus regarding the Northeast Hoosier Conference title chase last Saturday with Columbia City beating DeKalb and New Haven downing Norwell. That will continue this Friday when the top four teams in the league face off. Homestead hosts DeKalb as the Spartans look to stay undefeated in the conference. Interestingly enough, this is Homestead's final league home game, with road tests at New Haven and Norwell looming. Meanwhile, over at New Haven, the Bulldogs host fellow 3-1 Columbia City in what could be an elimination game in the conference race. New Haven has won three straight games and looked as good as it had all season in the first quarter of Tuesday's victory over Snider. However, Columbia City is a team that will make you play a complete four quarters of basketball.
2. Has North Side turned the corner?
Most area coaches will agree that North Side has one of the most talented rosters from top to bottom in Northeast Indiana. Redskins coach Shabaz Khaliq will also agree that his team has trouble playing up to that talent. Lately, North Side appears to have begun to put it together with three straight victories by an average of 12 points per game. This Friday's home game with Bishop Luers will be another good barometer on if the Redskins have put past struggles behind them. The Knights have been through some turmoil but are riding a three-game win streak of their own. Keep an eye on Dwight Richards in this matchup. The Luers transfer has gone under the radar this season for North Side and has proven to be an adept player inside and out.
3. Does Wayne or Concordia get back on track on Friday?
Teams have figured out how to make things difficult for the Cadets, limit Concordia's size and length by forcing the team to play a more perimeter game. The Cadets have struggled with its jump shooting the past few weeks in losses to North Side and Snider, and Wayne will surely attempt Concordia into the same type of game on Friday. But you can be sure Coach Josh Eggold has addressed the problems for the Cadets over the past week. The Generals have had struggles of their own in dropping two straight, but have lost just once on their home floor all season.
4. South Adams or Southern Wells gets a league win.
Both teams enter Friday's matchup winless in the ACAC, with the Starfires in the midst of a 10-game losing skid. South Adams has not had a run of futility like this since the 2009-10 squad dropped its final 19 games of the season. Southern Wells has lost its five league games by an average of 19 points. Something has to give on Friday at Southern Wells.
5. Can the South Side and Canterbury girls' basketball teams survive late-season tests?
Bravo to the Archers and Cavaliers, who both added some huge games late in the season to get a great barometer on just where their respective teams are so close to sectional play. On Friday, Canterbury travels to Class 4A No. 9 Hamilton Southeastern, the eighth 4A team the Cavaliers will have played this season. Canterbury follows it up next Thursday with a visit to Carmel. The majority of 1A competition pales in comparison to the talent the Cavaliers will see over the next week. Meanwhile, South Side goes to undefeated Bedford North Lawrence on Saturday to see just where it is at. Win or lose, both programs will be more prepared for the playoffs with these games.