BOYS PREP HOOPS: Expanded Power Poll for January 18, 2018
This is a new feature breaking down news-sentinel.com’s prep basketball power polls, as decided by the news-sentinel.com high school basketball team. The news-sentinel.com boys and girls power polls run in print each Thursday on our page inside the sports section of The Journal Gazette.
#1: NORTH SIDE LEGENDS
Against Top 10: 5-0
Best win: Valparaiso
Worst loss: New Albany
Next game: Friday vs. Homestead, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: The Legends have continued to be dominant against anyone not in this city. Keion Brooks Jr. has raised himself to third all-time in the school’s scoring with 1,376 points and is, half of the time, not even the single game leading scorer in the Legends’ wins. The dangerous scoring trio of Brooks, Austin Boucher and Lucas Kroft has kept defenses guessing. But also keep in mind that Homestead and Wayne have kept games interesting against North Side.
#2: BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN BRAVES
Against Top 10: 3-1
Best win: Barr-Reeve
Worst loss: North Side
Next game: Saturday at Lakewood Park, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: Ignoring their loss to North Side, the Braves have flattened nearly everyone and are coming off a highly impressive 20-point win earlier this week over a tough Wayne team. Their win just before the calendar year shifted over Barr-Reeve propelled them to be the number one team in the state in Class 1A. The Braves have a lot of weapons and have continued to show flexibility with the mid-season addition of Jared Hofer and without senior starter Devin Donaldson, who has sat out the last two games.
#3: HOMESTEAD SPARTANS
Against Top 10: 2-4
Best win: South Side
Worst loss: Huntington North
Next game: Friday at North Side, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: If close games build character, the Spartans will have plenty come postseason time. Freshman Luke Goode has grown up a lot lately, including a buzzer beater to force overtime against South Side. They then played Blackhawk Christian close, in part because of Onye Ezeakudo’s ability to make the Spartans multi-dimensional and able to adapt to most of their opponents’ style.
#4: CARROLL CHARGERS
Against Top 10: 0-2
Best win: Penn
Worst loss: Homestead
Next game: Friday at South Side, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: As Carroll has tried to find their way and a leader offensively, they have quietly built a nice record and are coming off a win over Penn, perhaps their biggest of the year. Reece Swoverland has shown off his nice scoring touch as of late and has Carroll sitting comfortably in the SAC title conversation. The Chargers haven’t shown a lot of flashy, but they are doing all of the right things right now.
#5: WAYNE GENERALS
Against Top 10: 2-3
Best win: South Bend Washington
Worst loss: Marion
Next game: Friday vs. Northrop, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: It was known that Wayne would be a tough out for every team and the way they played North Side on January 5 was no fluke. They followed that up with three straight wins and when they looked solid in those games, especially against Bishop Dwenger and South Bend Washington, they looked rock solid. A 20-point loss earlier this week to Blackhawk Christian raised some red flags though, so where Wayne heads down the stretch is still to be seen.
#6: SOUTH SIDE ARCHERS
Against Top 10: 1-3
Best win: Wayne
Worst loss: Homestead
Next game: Friday vs. Carroll, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: South will need to answer a lot of questions in the absence of Mikale Stevenson about who they are from here. Plenty of guys can step in to bring the ball up the court and pick up the load of the scoring output, but having that one high-energy defensive guy is a question mark. Against the non-elites of the area, they have been money, but a roll of Carroll, Blackhawk Christian, Wayne, Lawrence North and New Haven all still await them.
#7: NEW HAVEN BULLDOGS
Against Top 10: 1-3
Best win: Homestead
Worst loss: Lake Central
Next game: Saturday at Norwell, 7:45 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: The Bulldogs are a tricky bunch to nail down, but that is the theme of the Northeast 8, where five teams still realistically can win the conference. They beat Merrillville (a Class 4A final four team a year ago) before the New Year and are on a three game win streak. New Haven can be very tough and have three valid scoring options between Brecar Clark, Zach Latham and James Gardner. In the last month and a half of the season, the Bulldogs could shoot up the power poll or fall victim to their confusing conference.
#8: EAST NOBLE KNIGHTS
Against Top 10: 1-1
Best win: Huntington North
Worst loss: Westview
Next game: Saturday at Leo, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: The Knights are still dealt an incomplete because their wins come over teams with a combined record of 79-92 and just six of their opponents have winning records, including the 15-0 Westview team that beat them. But on the plus side, the Knights have found a golden scorer in Ali Ali and a good deal on consistency behind him and that consistency could mean everything in the Northeast 8. They have also shown great signs of hot shooting, including in Wednesday’s win over Central Noble where Drew Devers hit nine three-pointers.
#9: HUNTINGTON NORTH VIKINGS
Against Top 10: 2-1
Best win: Homestead
Worst loss: Leo
Next game: Saturday vs. Bellmont, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: From unbreakable to Jekyll and Hyde. The Vikings have lost two of their last four and are coming off needing overtime to beat a 4-8 Concordia team. If question marks are not abound for Huntington North, it is odd why they are not. The Vikings have shown some real flashes of strength with their length and that will benefit them into a stretch of three winnable conference games.
#10: WESTVIEW WARRIORS
Against Top 10: 1-0
Best win: East Noble
Worst loss: No losses
Next game: Friday at Fairfield, 7:30 p.m.
Why they are ranked here: They haven’t lost. That in and of itself is reason enough. The top team in Class 2A have dispatched everyone so far and just bullied their way through the NECC Tournament. Their schedule is not as tough as others in the power poll, but quality wins over NorthWood and East Noble are more than respectable.