SHOOTER: Area girls basketball is a series of wide open races

South Side girls basketball coach Juanita Goodwell watches as the Archers play Snider during a Dec. 26, 2016, game of the SAC Holiday Tournament at Wayne High School. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)

Stop, don’t look now, but it is official — dare I say it — high school basketball season!

Watch as I rub my hands together with maniacal glee. Even better than just a new season starting is the fact that the girls prep hoops scene this year is as unpredictable as it has been in Shooter’s lifetime. There is no dominant team in any single of the four area conferences.

So what am I to do without a Miss Basketball or leading state finalist candidate, but a host of parity across the SAC, NE8, ACAC and NECC? Why tell you who will be the front runners to the thrones of the likes of Karissa McLaughlin of course.

THE INDIANA ALL-STAR

Look, if I said anyone other than Leigha Brown of DeKalb, you may as well pull my press credential before I can hop into my game of choice in the opening week of the season. Brown’s game to game ritual may as well be a game of “anything you can do, I can do better,” because, well, she can do anything better than you.

PREDICTING YOUR CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

There are legitimately four front runners who could win the Summit Athletic Conference this year, and that is just bonkers. This has been Homestead’s league for just two years, but they have been so dominant that we forget they haven’t been here for very long. That won’t change — get Rod Parker another trophy for his mantle.

In the NE8, nobody has the depth to deal with what Bellmont has developed, not even the Norwell machine.

Over in the ACAC, South Adams should join Bellmont in bringing another crown to Adams County. But don’t count out Bluffton, who is as hungry as anyone.

Finally, the NECC and Shooter calls for an upset. I like Central Noble to go deeper in the postseason, but I predict that the stifling Angola defense stops them in the regular season and gives the Hornets the conference crown.

BEST CHANCE AT A STATE RUN

I’m going to say it — you can laugh if you want. It’s probably a tad bit of an unorthodox choice, especially given Shooter’s conference predictions above. But is there a chance that the South Side Archers could make their way to Indianapolis?

The depth is there, the skill at each position on the court is there. Can they withstand the strain of a tough season? From Jan. 3-19, they have regular season meetings with Northridge, Homestead, Carmel, Concordia, Penn and Carroll, and this frog assures you no other team is playing that schedule so close to playoff time. It will make them, or it will break them.

For more on prep hoops, follow Shooter on Twitter at shooter_ns

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