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NE8 Girls’ Basketball Power Poll and Picks (Week 7)

Photo Courtesy of PhotosByJourney

Columbia City 9-1 (2-0)

Norwell 9-2 (1-1)

Huntington North 7-2 (1-1)

Bellmont 10-1 (2-0)

Leo 7-6 (1-1)

DeKalb 5-6 (0-2)

East Noble 3-7 (1-1)

New Haven 1-10 (0-2)

The NE8 saw some thrilling and rather impressive performances among the teams in this conference. It began with the DeKalb Lady Barons going into the Cage to beat the Lady Cadets 50-47 in 2OT. The Cox sisters (Ashley and Delaney) combined for 33 of those 50 points.

Then came the Leo Lady Lions, who continue this roller coaster of a season the way it started: a winning streak. Leo snapped their 5-game losing streak with a dramatic 36-34 win over Angola last Wednesday thanks to Hoosier Hysteria magic from Haylee Schott, who made the game-winning shot. Leo then rallied from a 16-5 1st quarter deficit to defeat DeKalb 37-31. Which Leo team will we see this week?

Huntington North was busy this past week as they dominated all three games by at least 27 points against Manchester, New Haven, and Marion. Norwell had a solid week of their own, despite the loss to Columbia City. They bounced back less than 24 hours later to beat Garrett convincingly 66-23 behind Kennedy Fuelling’s 25 points.

But it was Columbia City that stole the spotlight this past week as Addison Baxter’s 31 points led a balanced scoring offense to an 82-66 shootout win over the Norwell Lady Knights. It is the first time since 2004 that Columbia City won a game at the Castle. Now that they have created some separation, can they continue to win out in the NE8? They failed the last two tries they were in this spot (2019-20 and 2021-22).

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


9-1 Columbia City @ 9-2 Warsaw

This looks like one of the best matchups in the state of Indiana for tomorrow night’s slate of games. Both longtime rivals within a span of 21 miles apart, and it is an excellent test for both teams to show what they can do.

With Columbia City, you know what you are getting already. This is a very talented basketball team that loves to share the basketball, sprint up and down the court, and they are going to establish their tempo through their rebounding and physical play. Regardless of who has the ball, you can’t leave any of their players wide open because of how talented each player is to the roles they play.

Warsaw is a fascinating team to discuss because they are sort of in a retooling phase with 16 of their players being freshmen or sophomores. But many of these players are pretty darn awesome, especially with Freshman Brooke Zartman aka “The Zart Dart” and Sophomore Brooke Winchester.

Zartman is averaging 13.6 points and 3.5 boards on 40% shooting from the floor AND from the perimeter. Winchester is averaging 14.6 points, 7 boards, and 1.2 assists per game on 45% shooting from the floor and 33% from the perimeter. Freshman Joslyn Bricker averages 10.7 points per game on 44% shooting.

For Columbia City, three players are averaging double figures: Sophomore Addison Baxter (21.4), Junior Kyndra Sheets (15.3), and Molly Baker (11.6). This game has the makings for a barn burner at the Tigers’ Den.

Players to Watch

Columbia City: Addison Baxter Sophomore Combo Guard

Warsaw: Brooke Winchester Sophomore Combo Forward

Columbia City by 7

1-11 Marion @ 1-10 New Haven

This is the type of matchup we rarely talk about here, but it is at least an interesting matchup for New Haven. New Haven has six freshmen on their roster, which shows the growing pains for this rebuilding program and the bright future they seem to have right now. A’lanah Webb is the most talented of the freshmen averaging 10 points per game.

The Lady Bulldogs are led by their leader: Junior Janiya Johnson, who’s averaging 13.3 points per game as their do-it-all type of player. They will host a depleted Marion team that got smoked 72-21 by their former NCC rivals, Huntington North. Three years ago, Marion was playing Northwestern at Logansport in the 3A Semistate. But since the 2020-21 season, the Lady Giants are just 6-44 with three (Yes, three) different head coaches in three seasons.

On the side note for Marion, they do have a scoring standout in Senior in Culeeya Jones, who is averaging around 15 points per game on a team that only generates 33.3 points per game.

Players to Watch

Marion: Culeeya Jones Senior Point Guard

New Haven: Janiya Johnson Junior Combo Guard

New Haven by 9

9-2 Norwell @ 8-2 Woodlan

This is a big-time matchup in the 260 where the Norwell Lady Knights travel to Woodburn vs Coach Cobb’s Lady Warriors. Norwell is coming off a 66-23 win over Garrett just one day after losing to Columbia City in a shootout.

Junior Kennedy Fuelling has been tearing it up this season averaging a NE8 best 24.4 points per game in the eight games she’s played so far this season. Not too far behind her is Junior Makenzie Fuess, who is scoring at just under 17 points per game. Fuelling had a co-game high 31 points vs Columbia City and 25 vs Garrett.

On Woodlan’s side, they dominated Adams Central 60-46 and escaped with a 42-34 hard-earned win at Bluffton. But the Lady Warriors hope to have a better showing than they did three weeks ago at Jay County. It will come down to the dominance of Senior Avah Smith, the Knuebuhler girls, and great team basketball to make this one more competitive.

Players to Watch

Norwell: Annabelle Johnson Junior Point Guard

Woodlan: Avah Smith Senior Power Forward

Norwell by 17


5-6 DeKalb @ 9-2 Norwell

The last time these two teams met, Norwell escaped with a 36-32 road win, which surprised quite a few people across the state. However, if this is going to happen again, DeKalb needs to have a better showing from their offense. DeKalb has failed to score 40 points in REGULATION since Nov. 18 at Garrett. This is a Barons’ squad that relies heavily on their perimeter shooting, and they are asking a lot from Sophomore Ashley Cox, and seniors Delaney Cox and Lillie Cone (Purdue Fort Wayne Girls’ Golf commit).

For Norwell, this is a team that can dominate anyone because of their lethal shooting, the greatness of Fuelling and Fuess, and that 1-3-1 zone that frustrates even the best of teams. The Barons need to figure out how to break that zone and take care of the basketball or it could get out of hand fast.

Players to Watch

DeKalb: Ashley Cox Sophomore Combo Guard

Norwell: Makenzie Fuess Junior Combo Guard

Norwell by 21

7-2 Huntington North @ 7-6 Leo

The Vikings travel for the third time in the last four games, this time to the Lions’ Den in Leo to face the Lady Lions. Huntington North is coming off a dominant week of basketball.

Marissa Trout consistently scored 20 points in all three games she has played this week, where she is now averaging 12 points per game. Grace Fields had a career-high 21 points in the 54-18 win at New Haven.

As for Taylor Double, she came off the bench Saturday to drop 21 points in the 72-21 win over Marion. During that same game, Double became the new three-point queen in program history with her 126th career made three.

Once again, prepare for trouble and make it double, because Leo has their work cut out for them. While the Lions have won two in a row, they had to work a lot harder to win those games. They will need a strong defensive showing from Haylee Schott to defend the paint, a strong Leah May Day, and a scrappy Leo defense to have a chance at an upset.

Players to Watch

Huntington North: Marissa Trout Sophomore Combo Guard

Leo: Leah May Senior Guard/Forward

Huntington North by 15

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