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Prep hoops: 5 things to watch this weekend

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ACAC Tournament title games this weekend; Homestead faces a tough road

Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 12:01 am

If last week proved anything in area prep basketball, it is that anything can happen on any given night.

Who had Adams Central knocking off Garrett?

What about Woodlan winning in overtime at Bluffton?

And perhaps the biggest upset, who out there actually had Bishop Luers defeating rival and host Bishop Dwenger?

Those games showcased what is great about this season in the area: There is competition everywhere. While North Side may be the best team right now on the boys side and Homestead No. 1 in girls, both teams got scares earlier this week, with the Redskins struggling against Lakewood Park and the Spartans edging Snider by one.

With plenty more action this weekend, expect a few more surprises.

Here are five things to watch this weekend:

1. Who will win the ACAC boys tournament?

It will be an interesting two games tonight at Memorial Coliseum for the semifinals of this event, which concludes at noon Saturday. Just five days after losing to Woodlan, Bluffton will get a chance at revenge as it faces the Warriors at 6 p.m., followed by Adams Central and Garrett at about 7:45 p.m.

Woodlan (5-4) is surging right now with wins in four of its last five games, but Bluffton has history on its side as it has won five of the last six ACAC Tournaments. But the Tigers are a young team trying to find their way. Tuesday's overtime win over Heritage ended a four-game losing streak for Bluffton, the longest losing skid for the program since 2006.

Adams Central beat Garrett five days ago and will try to do it again in the second game as the Railroaders attempt to start another winning streak.

Will history repeat itself between the semifinalists? Or does revenge come quickly? We will see.

2. Who will win the ACAC girls tournament?

For the seventh consecutive season, either Leo or Garrett will win this event after both advanced to Saturday morning's championship game with wins Wednesday.

Class 3A No. 3 Garrett's 15-0 record includes a 13-point victory over the Lions in early December. Since that game, the two squads are a combined 14-0, which makes for an interesting side story going into the finals.

Leo has won two straight ACAC Tournaments and would love to make it three, but will have to do it without Jenna Beer, who is likely out for the year with an injury. Can the Lions match up with the Railroaders without her? We will see Saturday morning at the coliseum.

3. Who will rebound in the SAC this week – Wayne or Bishop Dwenger?

All of a sudden, two of the boys teams that entered the season expected to compete for the SAC championship have hit rough spots, with the Generals and Saints set to clash Friday to see which program can get back on track.

Bishop Dwenger began the season 5-0 but has since dropped two straight to North Side and Bishop Luers. While the effort has been there for the Saints, as it has all year, the execution combined with fundamental mistakes has been an issue. Bishop Dwenger missed four free throws in the final 28 seconds against Bishop Luers that could have locked up the victory.

As for Wayne (5-3), coach Aaron Rehrer's team lost a close one to Snider in the SportONE SAC Holiday Basketball Tournament followed by a blowout loss to North Side last week and a defeat to Norwell on Wednesday. The Generals desperately need some positive vibes, and beating the Saints would definitely achieve that.

4. Will Homestead survive a challenging weekend?

Despite what some like to believe, the Spartans boys team has more players on the roster than Caleb "Biggie" Swanigan. Despite the big man's 21.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game, the Spartans will only be as good as his supporting cast.

The entire Homestead (9-3) roster will be tested this weekend with road games at Columbia City on Friday and at Bishop Dwenger on Saturday. The Eagles (6-5) are allowing just more than 42 points per contest and will surely focus on limiting Swanigan and teammate Dana Batt inside.

Meanwhile, Bishop Dwenger has the capability when it chooses to play physically, and with a good inside-out game the Saints can pose a threat to the Spartans.

If Homestead can emerge from this weekend with a pair of victories, it will surely move up to at least No. 2 in my Power Poll.

5. Can Carroll avoid an 0-3 NHC start?

The Chargers were not done any favors with their conference scheduling, with coach Marty Beasley's boys having to face Homestead, Norwell and New Haven (6-2) in their first three league contests.

Friday's game with the Bulldogs is pivotal for Carroll to have a shot at a conference title because dropping to 0-3 will surely put them out of contention.

The Chargers (7-4) have been in a fair share of close games this season, including their two previous leagues games, with each coming by four points. Carroll must find a way to close out close conference games, with the New Haven game appearing to be one that could go down to the end.