Indiana’s Top High School Basketball Games of the Weekend by// Bryce Walts

Last week there were very competitive games, that included undefeated #1 North Central taking their first loss in the Marion County Tournament to Pike, and Warren  Central also taking their first loss in that same tournament to North Central. These teams losing their first games means South Bend Riley is the only remaining unbeaten 4A team in Indiana. It will be interesting to see how long they can keep their unbeaten record. Last week there were a plethora of interesting games for Friday and Saturday, but this week most of the interesting games are on Friday.

*all rankings via AP poll (Jan.17) and stats via http://indianahsbasketball.homestead.com/boys.html and www.maxpreps.com

Friday, January 20th

#3 4A Carmel (10-2) vs #9 4A Pike (12-3), 7:30 PM ET

   The number three ranked Greyhounds from Carmel travel to Pike to face the Red Devils. Both of these ranked 4A teams are scorching hot as of late. Pike is coming off a championship in the Marion County Tournament with a gigantic win over #1 ranked North Central, unbeaten at the time. Pike also holds a nine game winning streak coming into Friday. Carmel has won five straight games with their last three all by a margin of 18 or more points. Carmel has the 29th ranked scoring defense (45.3 PAPG), and has an average scoring margin of 17.3. Pike’s seniors Isiah James (14 PPG), and Justin Williams (14.2 PPG) are a strong duo, but will have to deal with Carmels’ size, including 6’9 sophomore John Michael Mulloy. Pike will look to gain another huge win for their giant-killer resume in this one   

#4 4A Fort Wayne North (15-1) vs #13 4A Homestead (10-2), 8:00 PM ET

   This one is a rematch from December 29th, when Fort Wayne North took down Homestead in the championship of the Summit Conference Tournament, 56-49. The FW North Legends only loss of the season was in overtime to a tough Fort Wayne Snider team on a game winning threes overtime. They’ve been on a nine game winning streak since. Homestead has a loss in overtime to Fort Wayne Snider as well. The Spartans are hungry to avenge their loss to the Legends from earlier in the season. Fort Wayne North has the 21st scoring offense in Indiana (71.7 PPG), and will probably look to increase the pace from these teams last matchup. Senior Jack Ferguson (19 PPG) will need to have a big game for the Spartans to even up the season series.

#11 4A Hamilton Southeastern (12-2) vs Zionsville (9-3), 7:30 PM ET

   Zionsville will look to get back on track in this one following a 54-45 loss to McCutcheon last week. A win here could propel the Eagles back into the AP poll for the 4A class. Hamilton Southeastern has a championship in the Huntington Holiday Hoops Tournament from back in December, and the Royals only losses this season have to top three teams in Carmel and North Central. The game could be decided by which team controls the tempo. Hamilton has the 11th scoring offense (75.4 PPG) while Zionsville only gives up 48.4 PPG, just outside the top 50 scoring defenses in Indiana. Senior Zach Gunn (21.1 PPG, 9.2 RPG) is the key to the Royals high octane attack, scoring under 18 points just once this season. Hamilton SE won this matchup 48-47 last year.

#1 4A North Central (13-1) vs #17 4A Lawrence North (9-4), 7:30 PM ET

   North Central retains their #1 AP poll ranking despite taking their first loss this past week to Pike. Their brutal schedule continues with their 4th ranked team in a row on Friday. Lawrence North is better than their record might indicate, as their losses have come to tough teams in Warren Central (twice in the span of 5 days), Fort Wayne North, and Logansport. The Wildcats will need to be at their best to win this catfight against the Panthers, who are surely looking to bounce back after taking their first loss. Emmanuel Little has blown up this season, becoming a formidable duo with 5-star Kris Wilkes. Kevin Easley (2018 3-star), will need to have a big game for Lawrence North to pull off the upset.

#2 2A Providence (11-1) vs #6 2A Henryville (13-2), 7:30 PM ET

   The Providence Pioneers and Henryville Hornets face off on Friday to see which team can claim Southern Indiana supremacy for the class of 2A. To give an indication of how this game will be, last year’s game Providence won by a tally of 39-29 last year. Watching snails race might go by faster than this one. Both these teams take advantage of the no shot clock rule and slow the clock down massively. Both sport top 18 defenses (Providence #7 – 41.7 PAPG, Henryville #18 – 43.8 PAPG). Providence sports a semi state appearance from last year, while Henryville has an average margin of 21.6, 4th in Indiana. Senior guard Juston Betz has been instrumental in the Pioneers success this season, and the same can be said for junior Nick Walker (20.5 PPG) and senior Braxton Robertson (15.5 PPG) for Henryville. Expect this to be one of the lowest scoring games of the season, and one of the tightest of the weekend.

#1 2A Barr-Reeve (12-1) at #5 1A Wood Memorial (8-3)

   A battle of top teams from the lower classes in the state of Indiana takes place at Wood Memorial Friday. Another low scoring affair is expected to take place in this one, as the two teams hold opponents to below 46 PPG on average. The Barr-Reeve Vikings are 6th in scoring defense (41.6 PAPG), while the Trojans of Wood Memorial have the 37th (45.9 PAPG). Barr-Reeve’s only loss is to undefeated Brownstown Central, the #2 3A team. Senior Trevor Lengacher (19.8 PPG) has been the key to Barr Reeve escalating up the rankings to the #1 rank. Wood Memorial will look to pull off an upset against the best in the class above them.

Saturday, January 21st

#2 4A New Albany (11-2) vs Evansville Reitz (7-5), 7:00 PM CT

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   A heated rivalry over the past couple years reinstates itself in Evansville Saturday night. Two heated games in regionals and an overall 2-2 record in the last two seasons contribute to what is usually a high paced, intense game between the Panthers and the Bulldogs. Reitz is having a down year compared to their standards, with their five losses coming in their last eight games. New Albany has gotten back on track with 8 straight wins since their losses to North Central and LaLumiere. Junior Isaiah Dunham might need to go off like he did against Bloomington North, when he went for 40 points on just 19 shots, per MaxPreps. Reitz also has another 20+ scorer, as senior Justin Freels (20.4 PPG) forms a strong scoring duo for the Panthers. Romeo Langford and Isaac Hibbard will be looking to stay hot after the past weekend, averaging 39 PPG and 23 PPG respectively, over two games. Both teams have high paced offenses, (#7 Reitz- 76.3 PPG, #36 New Albany- 68.9 PPG) and as the previous scores indicate, expect this matchup to be high scoring and exciting.

Warsaw (9-4) vs #12 4A Crown Point (11-2), 7:00 PM CT
   Warsaw vs Crown Point will be a true battle of tempo, as Warsaw has the 4th scoring defense (39.6 PAPG), and Crown Point is 47th in scoring offense (67 PPG). This is a rematch from last years regional championship, where Warsaw advanced to semi state with a 46-33 win. Both of these teams have been in and out of AP poll this season, and a win here could give their team the momentum needed to regain their status as a top team. Seniors Ken Decker and 3-star (Rivals) Sasha Stefanovic will have to pace the Crown Point Bulldogs often and quickly so Warsaw can not slow the game down. Warsaw senior Kyle Mangas is 9th on the school’s all time scoring list, and averages 21 PPG, per MaxPreps. The Tigers have two games this season where they have allowed 50+ points, both resulting in losses, another indicator that the pace of the game is a major factor of the outcome.

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