Here are five things about prep basketball in the Fort Wayne area that fans will learn this weekend.
1. An SAC champion.
All season I have stated that if you lose more than one game in the SAC, your chances of a title are gone. I am going to stick to that this weekend, despite the chances that a two-loss North Side team could win its first league crown since the 2005-2006 season due to it holding the tiebreakers over Northrop and Concordia Lutheran. The team in the driver's seat is Northrop, atop the standings with a 5-1 record entering Friday's home matchup with Concordia. If victorious, the Bruins clinch the SAC championship. A victory by Concordia Lutheran (4-2 in SAC) and a loss by North Side would give the championship to the Cadets. North Side takes on Bishop Dwenger on Friday on the road, a team that has lost eight consecutive games. Nothing like several scenarios still possible in the final week of the conference season.
2. An NHC champion…maybe.
Homestead enters Saturday's showdown against New Haven in prime position to make it three straight years that the Spartans have won the NHC outright. Coach Chris Johnson's team is 5-0 in the league, a full game better than second-place New Haven (4-1) and two games better than Columbia City, DeKalb and Carroll (3-2). A win over the Bulldogs and Homestead is 6-0 and will have a two-game lead on its closest competitors in the league with just one game remaining, giving the title to the Spartans. However, Saturday's matchup will be tough against a New Haven team that has won six straight games.
3. Will next Thursday be an ACAC title clash?
ACAC fans are circling next Thursday's matchup between Leo and Bluffton as the game that will decide the league championship. With both teams entering this Saturday with 5-0 league records, it is natural to look ahead. But both will need to take care of business against other competition to ensure that reality lives up to the hype next Thursday. Leo hosts Adams Central, a team that held the Lions to one of their lowest point totals of the season a year ago in a 90-64 defeat. The Flying Jets have been inconsistent of late, not winning more than one game in a row since early December. Meanwhile, Bluffton travels to Heritage, a team that gave Leo a scare earlier this season and beat DeKalb in late-December. Both squads better be focused on Saturday before worrying about next Thursday.
4. Who reigns supreme in battle of high-profile prep players?
Late-season non-conference tests for both Northrop and Bishop Luers loom on Saturday at the Indiana High School Showcase at Arsenal Tech High School in Indianapolis. While the games are big for the teams, the individual talent on display will be a bigger draw for fans. Bishop Luers will take on East Chicago Central at 2:30 p.m., featuring James Blackmon Jr. for the Knights and sophomore point guard Hyron Edwards for the Cardinals. The duo could be teammates or rivals in the coming years, with JBJ an Indiana commit and Edwards holding offers from both Indiana and Purdue.
The Bruins will take on Class 4A No. 5 Pike at 6:45 p.m., with the Scott twins taking on Ball State commit senior Zavier Turner and junior forward Kendall Rollins.
The nightcap at 8 p.m. features former Indiana verbal commit Trey Lyles and Arsenal Tech taking on Warren Central, which is led by senior Devin Davis. Davis, a 6-foot-6 forward, is headed to Bloomington to play for the Hoosiers next season.
If you do not have anything to do on Saturday, heading to Tech is not a bad idea.
5. Will we still have five undefeated teams?
With less than a month left in the regular season, there are still five teams that remain undefeated – Rockville and Waldron in 1A, Hagerstown in 2A, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) in 3A and Munster in 4A. So conceivably, we could have four undefeated state champions. Not likely, nor is it likely we will have five teams that go undefeated in the regular season. Last year, there was just one in Greensburg. However, it is still interesting to follow as these teams continue to win.