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Here are five things surrounding prep basketball in the Fort Wayne area that fans will learn this weekend:
1. NHC or SAC?
Two matchups stand out this weekend that will go a long way toward deciding the ongoing argument over which area conference is better this season. On Friday, undefeated New Haven (3-0) travels to No. 9 Northrop (5-1). The Bruins dropped a tough one to North Side last Friday but rebounded with a rout of Canterbury on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' early-season schedule has been light on games and challenges, with the three opponents so far a combined 5-13. On Saturday, Homestead travels to Class 3A No. 9 Concordia Lutheran. This writer believes both teams are underrated in the state polls, with the Spartans barely receiving votes in 4A, with their lone loss coming at No. 16 Merrillville. Needless to say, we will know more about the hierarchy of these two area conferences by Saturday night.
2. Is Concordia Lutheran the best team right now in the area?
Speaking of the Cadets, before coach Josh Eggold's team worries about the balance of Homestead, they will have to deal with Leo, which has an offense averaging 74 points per game. Of course, the Lions also allow 77 points per game, including surrendering 100 points to both New Haven and Homestead. Expect a similar game to last season when the Cadets were victorious, 99-87. If Concordia can survive the weekend, it will enter 2013 as the team to beat in the area.
3. Can SAC schools represent in Indy?
North Side and Bishop Luers head down Interstate 69 to take part in the Lew Wallace Midwest Showcase at Indianapolis John Marshall High School this weekend. The Redskins picked up a huge home victory over Northrop last week while the Knights are still stinging from a road defeat to Concordia. Both teams have tough matchups, with North Side taking on Indianapolis Howe and Bishop Luers playing Bishop Chatard. A good showing at this two-day event for both squads will give them some momentum heading into the SAC Holiday Tournament and bring some respect back with them to the Summit City.
4. Will DeKalb keep on winning?
When people were buzzing about the depth of the NHC this season, the Barons were well-down on the list of programs mentioned, not because DeKalb was expected to be bad, but that other programs were projected to be so good. One of those teams, Norwell, now has a loss to the Barons on its resume. DeKalb looks to continue its momentum from a 4-2 start today against Bishop Dwenger at home. The Saints have three losses to state-ranked programs and should present a challenge for the upstart Barons.
5. How does Norwell respond?
The Knights dropped their first game of the season to DeKalb last Friday. Can they bounce back against Bluffton? The Tigers knocked off Norwell in the regular season last year, one of just three defeats Norwell suffered all year. Win or lose on Friday, Norwell will still be a contender in Class 3A in March, but with a two-week layoff after this game, a victory will make for a very merry Christmas for Norwell as opposed to entering the holidays with a two-game losing skid.