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NE8 Girls’ Basketball Power Poll and Predictions (Week 6)

Photo Courtesy of PhotosByJourney

  1. Columbia City 8-1 (1-0)
  2. Norwell 8-1 (1-0)
  3. Huntington North 5-2 (0-1)
  4. Bellmont 8-1 (1-0)
  5. DeKalb 5-5 (0-1)
  6. Leo 5-6 (0-1)
  7. East Noble 3-5 (1-0)
  8. New Haven 1-9 (0-1)

Last week began conference play for NE8 Girls’ Basketball. The game of last week came in Huntington, IN, where Kennedy Fuelling and Makenzie Fuess combined for 38 points in the 52-34 win over the Lady Vikings.

Columbia City’s recent stretch of dominance continued in their NE8 opener as they defeated Leo 71-26. The Lady Eagles enter this week with wins in their last eight games. Bellmont also won their conference opening game in a 59-33 win at DeKalb, and East Noble held on for a 44-37 win over rebuilding New Haven.

This week highlights two key conference matchups this Friday where Columbia City travels to Norwell, while DeKalb is at Leo.

SuperSam’s NE8 Girls’ Basketball Picks of the Week


4-5 Bishop Luers @ 8-1 Bellmont

The Bellmont Teepee sets up a SAC-NE8 clash in Decatur as the Lady Braves face an athletic Bishop Luers squad. Since starting the season 3-1, Luers has hit a cold spell these days with losses in 4 of their last 5 games. This includes a 38-25 loss to the Hamilton Heights Huskies.

Luers’ is averaging 31.1 boards a game led by Addie Shank’s 9.1, but the Knights are shooting 38% from the floor. For Bellmont, they have won every game by double digits and holding teams to just 35 points per game (That currently leads the NE8).

Luers needs to be able to attack the glass inside and use that size to open up the offense. However, Luers is only shooting 24% from 3, and they will be facing one of the area’s best perimeter defenses.

Players to Watch

Luers: Addie Shank Junior Power Forward

Bellmont: Hailey Cole Junior Combo Forward

Bellmont by 18


8-1 Columbia City @ 8-1 Norwell

This is without a doubt the NE8 Game of the Week, and some may argue this is the NE8 Game of the Season as the Eagles and Knights renew this heated rivalry once again for NE8 supremacy. Over the last three seasons, this rivalry has exchanged wins with the Eagles winning two of their last three.

Last season, Columbia City dominated their last meeting 55-34 at Columbia City, where the Eagles shot 50% from the field, 36% from 3, and had a +8-rebounding differential. It was a balanced scoring attack led by Kyndra Sheets’ 16 points and Addison Baxter’s 15 points (Baxter is pictured as the article’s featured photo). Outside of Kennedy Fuelling’s 19 points, the rest were held to 14 combined points.

But that was last year as this year presents new headlines for what this year’s version of the rivalry may look like. Following close wins over Snider and Fairfield, Columbia City took advantage of lighter competition as they won their last 4 games by an average margin of 44.3 points. Looking by the numbers, Columbia City is 7-1 when they shoot 30% or better from the perimeter, and 7-0 when they are shooting 40% or better from the field. Columbia City has also record 20 or more boards in 6 of their last 7 games.

Addison Baxter is currently on a 9-game scoring streak where she has reached double-figures. Outside of the sectional game against Homestead, Baxter has not failed to reach that feat in the regular season since January 21, 2022. Norwell’s Kennedy Fuelling is also on a scoring tear of her own as she has reached 14 straight games scoring in double figures (Dates back to after January 2, 2022).

Where this game could be won is how well the defense can contain the perimeter shooting, which team can defend the paint better, and which team can control the glass the best. I am fascinated to see how both teams prepare for each other in less than 48 hours.

Players to Watch

Columbia City: Kyndra Sheets Junior Combo Guard

Norwell: Makenzie Fuess Junior Combo Guard

Columbia City by 3

5-5 DeKalb @ 5-6 Leo

Coming into this season, this was the matchup that had the most unpredictable as these two teams are as evenly matched as you might see on paper.

DeKalb is coming off a 50-47 2OT win @ Concordia to snap a 4-game losing streak. If they can get consistent production from Ashley and Delaney Cox along with Lillie Cone and some role players like Evie Pepple and Elizabeth Martin, DeKalb is solid.

This Barons’ team can shoot the 3-ball well, and their defense competes pretty well. Leo is going to need big performances out of Leah May and Leah Shappell in this game to utilize their size and athleticism.

Players to Watch

DeKalb: Ashley Cox Sophomore Combo Guard

Leo: Leah Shappell Freshman Combo Forward

DeKalb by 5

3-5 East Noble @ 8-1 Bellmont

East Noble has an interesting nucleus led by Bree Walmsley, Bailea Bortner, and Payton Quake. But it’s clear this is a rebuilding season for East Noble, and Bellmont is not an easy place to win basketball games these days.

While we talk a lot about Hailey Cole and Sydney Keane, look for this to be a strong game from their role players such as the Bleke girls, Tessa Spiegel, and Ellen Scott.

Players to Watch

EN: Payton Quake Sophomore Combo Forward

Bellmont: Emily Bleke Sophomore Forward

Bellmont by 27


3-5 Garrett @ 8-1 Norwell

Past meetings suggest this as a strong possibility for a NECC or NE8 game of the week. However, this is a tall task for this Garrett team to beat a quality team like Norwell.
While size favors Garrett, the offensive talent and execution clearly favors Norwell this season. Not only do they have a strong 1-2 combo in Kennedy Fuelling and Makenzie Fuess, the other girls do a better job at making shots when opportunities present themselves.

While Maddy Schenkel finally had her first big-time performance with her 16 points vs Westview, the rest of the role players lack the offensive firepower right now. I look for a good emphasis of Schenkel, Bergman, and of course Bailey Kelham in this game.

Players to Watch

Garrett: Kelsey Bergman Junior Center

Norwell: Dekota Hubble Junior Power Forward

Norwell by 15

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