BOYS SAC TOURNAMENT: Team capsules (by seed)
1. NORTH SIDE (7-3, 2-0 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Legends have had their fair share of challenges outside of the area, but thus far, no one has been able to touch them locally. Of the four games against area squads, none have been decided by less than 15 points. Keion Brooks Jr. has become a player in which putting up at or above 30 points a night is considered routine. Still, this is a team that has some glaring weaknesses and areas in which it must develop.
KEY TO WINNING A TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP: Like the four title teams before it, this North Side squad must play as a unit if it is going to win consecutive SAC Holiday Tournament No. 5. We have not seen the Legends play that way consistently…yet.
2. WAYNE (3-2, 2-0 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Generals have proven that they are worthy of the No. 2 seed with wins over New Haven and Carroll along with a close loss at a tough Marion squad. Craig Young has been as advertised, but it is Kylon Jarreau (12.8 points per game) that has been the complement to Young’s greatness. There is no team in the SAC, including North Side, that can match Wayne in terms of athleticism on the court.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE. See above. Wayne needs to play its game and make its opponents match its style and intensity. If the Generals meet up with North Side in the final, they will hold the edge in terms of speed and pure athletic ability. If coach Aaron Rehrer’s team can exploit that advantage, Wayne could win its first SAC Holiday Tournament crown since 1993.
3. SOUTH SIDE (4-2, 1-1 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Archers have taken care of business against lesser competition, but have failed tests against North Side and Zionsville. That said, this team is still a formidable foe, particularly when it is sharing the basketball and playing inside-out with Asher Blum in the post.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Some champions of this tournament have been crowned largely because of the hot streak of a particular player. Trejean Didier has had standout performances in the holiday event before. If South Side is to challenge the favorites, he must be on his game.
4. CARROLL (4-1, 1-1 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: After allowing the most points per game in a season in over two decades a year ago, the Chargers have buckled down on the offensive end to begin 2017. Because of that, Carroll has looked largely impressive in four of its five games. Included in the hot start was holding Columbia City to just four first-half points in a 69-32 win on Dec. 9. David Ejah has had a breakout season, leading the Chargers in scoring at 15.2 ppg.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: There may be no team in the field that can slow down the pace and limit possessions with the effectiveness that the Chargers can. For Carroll to beat North Side or Wayne, it must keep the game from climbing into the 60s and above in points. This Chargers team is fully capable of doing that.
5. HOMESTEAD (3-4, 2-0 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: Eyebrows were raised when the Spartans lost by 23 to Huntington North to begin the season, but coach Chris Johnson’s team has been fairly solid since. A pair of league wins and losses to Marion, New Haven and Tindley by a combined eight points have Homestead looking a lot better than Game 1 of the 2017-18 campaign. Sam Buck and Onye Ezeakudo have been the offensive standouts, but freshman Luke Goode (6.6 ppg) has been a surprise.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Homestead is 0-4 when its opponent scores 55 or more points. Hence, the Spartans need to keep teams from scoring. In a tournament that can see some big-time points outputs, that may not bode well. But if the Spartans can get stops on the defensive end, a deep tourney run could materialize.
6. SNIDER (1-5, 0-2 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: A season-opening win over a Fishers team that went on to beat Carmel got the Panthers off to a good start, but it has been a struggle ever since.
But this Snider team is growing, evidenced by a competitive loss to Eric Hunter and Tindley at Marion late last week. While the Panthers are largely young, they have a number of capable shooters from the outside, and Keondre Brown provides the veteran presence that every team needs.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Brown. Most of Snider’s roster has next to no real experience in the SAC Holiday Tournament. Brown is the exception and must play that way. The senior doesn’t have to be a ball hog or a chucker, but he does have to be the leader both verbally and the way he fills up the bucket.
7. BISHOP DWENGER (4-2, 1-1 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Saints won’t get any style points for its wins this year, but they all count the same, right? Bishop Dwenger has slogged its way to notable wins over Norwell and DeKalb, with a competitive loss to a one-loss Marion team also standing out.
There is not much in the way of offensive firepower on the Saints roster, with Hayden Smithey and Lucas Lehrman showing flashes, but this team has proven it can grind out wins.
KEY TO WINNING A TOURNAMENT TITLE: Defense. The Saints cannot outscore the majority of teams in the SAC. It has to win games on the defensive end. As one of the few pure posts in the conference, Lehrman has the potential to take over a game or two with his rebounding and putback abilities.
8. NORTHROP (2-5, 1-1 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: No team in the SAC has suffered more from the loss of a single player than the Bruins losing Richard Robertson to graduation. The pure scorer was a big part of Northrop winning 11 games a season ago. This year started off in impressive fashion with a lopsided victory over a decent DeKalb team, but since then the Bruins have gone 1-5 with a narrow two-point win over Luers the only victory.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: The SAC Tournament typically turns into a track meet, with players trying to garner oohs and ahhhs from the crowd with electrifying plays. Northrop’s style fits into that mold. If the Bruins can get hot from the field and feed themselves off the crowd, they could get on a run.
9. CONCORDIA LUTHERAN (2-4, 0-2 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: The Cadets are one win away from equaling their total from a year ago, so there is progress. The fact that there is not a single senior on the roster is something to take into consideration as well with coach Austin Thoms’ squad. Concordia has wins over Canterbury and Lakewood Park and hung tough with Norwell and Bishop Dwenger, but this is still a team finding itself.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: The trio of Adam Gottschalk, Brayden Pearson and Jadon Dance must get incredibly hot and stay that way. The tournament typically favors the veteran, experienced squad. The youthful Cadets need to play as if they are upperclassmen to have a chance.
10. BISHOP LUERS (0-5, 0-2 SAC)
SEASON OVERVIEW: As expected, it has been a struggle for the Knights this season.
A new coach (Will Hubertz) and a gutted roster have been two factors in the slow start, one that does not look as if it will turn around anytime soon.
While winless, Bishop Luers has been competitive in close losses to Northrop and Churubusco.
KEY TO COMPETING FOR A TOURNAMENT TITLE: The youth of the Knights must mature quickly, very quickly. Upsets clearing the road in front of them would be a big help as well.