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NE8 Boys’ Basketball Power Poll and Picks (Week 4)

Photo Courtesy of Kristi Q’s Photography

  1. Norwell 5-1
  2. Columbia City 4-1
  3. New Haven 1-3
  4. Leo 2-4
  5. Bellmont 2-3
  6. DeKalb 0-5
  7. East Noble 0-3
  8. Huntington North 1-3

This past week saw the final stages of preparing for the start of conference play for the NE8. Leo’s early-season struggles continued into this past week where Leo lost to Bishop Luers 49-44 and a rare 2OT game to Woodlan in a 68-63 Woodlan win.

DeKalb remains one of the conference’s only two teams without a win this season after losing close games to Snider (51-43) and Fremont (59-53). This is the first time since the 0-7 start in 2016-17 that they have lost their first five games.

After a dominant win over Bishop Dwenger, Norwell continued to dominate the competition with a 78-43 win over Franklin Central @ Southport, and last night’s 78-52 win over ACAC contender Adams Central. The Bethel commit, Luke McBride, has dropped 25 points in each of their last two games and sits at 1,457 career points. Other players like Lleyton Bailey (pictured in the feature photo), Cohen Bailey, Brody Bolyn (Bowling Green State Football Commit), Luke Graft, and Jake Parker have been awesome this season. Could they be primed for a deep run in 3A this season? Some think that could happen.

But just like the girls’ team, no one stole the spotlight quite like Columbia City did. Andrew Hedrick and Stratton Fuller combined for 48 points in the 91-38 win over Churubusco. At Carroll’s Alumni Gymnasium, Hedrick had 23, while Fuller added 19.

However, this play during Saturday’s 62-60 OT win was the one that went viral on social media, which eventually landed on Sportscenter’s #5 spot.

SuperSam’s 5 NE8 Boy’s’ Basketball Picks of the Week


3-0 Wayne @ 1-3 New Haven

In an intriguing Wednesday night of hoops, Armstrong Arena is the site of an entertaining matchup between two very talented teams that can flat out ball. This matchup includes two of the area’s elite all-around players: Jevon Lewis of Wayne and Darrion Brooks of New Haven.

Lewis is coming off an 18 point, 5 board performance in his team’s 62-57 win @ Snider, but the play of Monte Smith Sr. and HJ Dillard gives Wayne that “Big 3” tandem that can threat the SAC this season. Wayne averages 32.3 boards per game, which will challenge New Haven’s smaller frontcourt.

It is easy to take the 1-3 start seriously, but that is because of the brutal schedule they always play to begin their season. Woodlan, Blackhawk Christian, Northrop, and Homestead. One could argue the Dawgs were 1-2 plays away from coming away with a 3-1 start.

Darrion Brooks is averaging 22.8 points per game, who only trails Norwell’s Luke McBride, and every time he is on the court, Brooks is a triple-double threat waiting to happen. Brooks also comes in at 915 career points.

His teammates are pretty talented as well with the likes of Jeremiah Cottrell, James Hardy IV, Korbyn Hammel, JoJo Robertson, and Mylan Graham. New Haven is not off to the best start shooting the ball, but they have the potential to shoot the lights out from deep. Against Blackhawk, the Dawgs were 10-29 from the perimeter in their 63-61 loss. But can they contain Wayne’s talented size and toughness? And can they get enough consistent production out of the rest of the main core of players?

Players to Watch

Wayne: Jevon Lewis Senior Combo Guard

New Haven: Darrion Brooks Senior Combo Forward

Wayne by 8


0-3 East Noble @ 4–1 Columbia City

Coming off one of the best wins in recent memory, Columbia City will open up conference play against rival East Noble. The Eagles have shown recent dominance over the Knights and hope to continue that momentum into the Eagles’ Nest.

Remember, last season, Bethel commit, Andrew Hedrick, had a career high 36 points in their last meeting at the Big Blue Pitt. As a guard that can change the tides of a game with his shooting threat, his teammates make his game more successful because of their selfless play.

East Noble will play their first game since Dec. 3, and so far, it has been a tough start for a young EN squad under Head Coach Brandon Durnell. The compete is there, but the level of finish hasn’t been there yet. However, it has been a solid start for Senior Hunter Kline who is in the top 10 in NE8 scoring.

Players to Watch

EN: Hunter Kline Senior Power Forward

CC: Andrew Hedrick Senior Combo Guard (Bethel Commit)

Columbia City by 18

1-3 New Haven @ 2-3 Bellmont

The Bellmont Teepee has always been a tough place for any opposing team. That being said, New Haven is not your ordinary 1-3 team, and it is a team that will greatly challenge the Braves in this one as both teams play complete opposite styles.

Bellmont holds the NE8’s third best defense, and it is a team that relies on physical, team basketball. Bellmont hopes to bounce back from their 53-45 loss at Heritage last Saturday night. Kord Fuelling leads a balanced Braves attack at 16.2 points per game.

But they will need to slow the athleticism and fast-tempo New Haven offense that averages 55.5 points per game. New Haven last season held on for a 59-50 home win over these Bellmont Braves.

Players to Watch

New Haven: Darrion Brooks Senior Combo Forward

Bellmont: Jack Scheumann Junior Combo Guard

New Haven by 7


3-0 Wayne @ 4-1 Columbia City

This could be a fun one Saturday night as the Eagles host a very talented Wayne team that has the size and athleticism to challenge the athleticism and toughness of Columbia City. Past meetings expect this to be a very close game as the previous 4 meetings have come by single digits, including last year’s 59-52 Columbia City win at Grace College.

The key stat to watch is the rebounding stat as this is an area where Wayne can generate extra scoring opportunities and create enough separation in this game. It may come down to the last shot again shot. Do we get one more dose of Fuller Magic?

Players to Watch

Wayne: HJ Dillard Sophomore Combo Forward

Columbia City: Stratton Fuller Sophomore Combo Guard

Wayne by 1

1-3 New Haven @ 3-1 Concordia

Much like the Wayne-CC matchup, this could be a fun SummitCity matchup at the Cage as the Concordia Cadets have plenty of swagger to show off so far with a nice start to their season. A dramatic 52-51 win over Carroll gives the Cadets the momentum needed to propel them for what could be an amazing season for Cadets’ basketball.

Everyone knows Ajani Washington is a walking bucket, but the play of Cole and Grant Hayworth, Joe Tapp, and David Speckhard gives every opposing teammate all kinds of frustration to what this game could bring to the table. This Concordia has what it takes to make this a championship-caliber team this season and possibly beyond.

Their explosive athleticism and ability to take it to the net with aggression will test New Haven’s discipline and ability to dictate pace. This is a game where scoring depth will be crucial for New Haven.

Players to Watch

New Haven: Korbyn Hammel Freshman Combo Guard

Concordia: Cole Hayworth Junior Combo Forward

Concordia by 4

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