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NE8 Girls Basketball Power Poll and Picks (Week 2)

Photo Courtesy of Early Rise Photography

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

Week 1 didn’t see a ton of action from the NE8 as Bellmont had an extended playoff run in volleyball, and Huntington North’s season starts tonight with a home game against Snider. However, the games we did get in the NE8 were quite good. Here’s a brief recap on that first week of action.

The season began with DeKalb having their first 2-0 start since 2016-17 with double-digit wins over Heritage and Lakeland. Ashley Cox led the way with 10 points @ Heritage and dropped 17 on Lakeland, despite playing just 34 seconds in the first half due to foul trouble. Lillie Cone also added 16 points in her team’s home opening win over Lakeland.

Leo’s first week saw the good, the meh, and the ugly. Leo’s 35-31 win over Heritage snapped a four-game losing streak against their EACS rivals, but it shows that they have a long way to go to reach their true potential at the most crucial time of the season.

However, their home opener against Northrop of all teams Saturday was anything but a homecoming. The Lady Bruins cruised to a 75-25 win where Saniya Jackson and Destini Craig combined for 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 steals.

The week concluded with Columbia City losing an entertaining showdown with Carroll 67-61. Despite the loss, Columbia City showed signs of greatness and balance with four players reaching double figures: Tessa Tonkel (18), Addison Baxter (15), Kyndra Sheets (12), and Molly Baker (10). Now, if they can get a bounce back performance on defense the way they know they’re capable of doing, they have a shot at doing some special things this season.

Now, let’s get to the picks of the week.

SuperSam’s 5 NE8 Picks of the Week

This is the first week of making NE8 picks for girls’ basketball. Here we go!

Tues. Nov. 8

1-1 Snider @ Huntington North 

Some may see this as the revenge game for Snider after Taylor Double broke their hearts last season at the buzzer. That three at the buzzer gave Huntington North a 45-42 road win in route of a 18-5 21-22 season and a co-NE8 championship. Prepare for trouble and make it double!

Junior phenom Jordyn Poole is already averaging 14.5 points and 3.5 assists at Snider, and that’s knowing they still have Nae Nae Donahue making big shots and playing strong defense. Now the question is: Can the Panthers get some reliable scoring from their lesser-known players? While they are grabbing 31 rebounds per game, they are shooting just 37% from the floor this season.

Graduation and transfers brought changes to how both teams will look this season. While Taylor Double is one of the biggest studs from the NE8, the Vikings will need other kids like Marissa Trout, Gracie Fields, and Leah Hertel to have big seasons. One player to watch for Snider is

Both teams saw graduation and transfers eating a good chunk of their depth from the previous season, which leaves you wondering how much contribution they will get from the rest of the lineup. Snider is seeing some promise with the play of Tia Phinezy, who is averaging 9 points and 10 rebounds as a junior. This should be a great game!

Players to Watch:

Snider: Jordyn Poole Junior Combo Guard

HN: Taylor Double Senior Combo Guard (Marian Commit)

Snider by 5

1-1 Leo @ 2-1 Churubusco

If you saw Busco’s season opener at Bishop Dwenger on SummitCitySports, you know how much Busco has improved in three years. The Lady Eagles may not be quite ready for that major contention status, but now Busco has a nice balance of talent, youth, senior leadership, and an identity David Goodwell wants his team to be. Yes, Goodwell has some shooters that are only scratching the surface of what can they be later in the season as they are shooting 27% from the floor and from downtown.

The big issue going into this matchup is the length and athleticism of Leo’s frontcourt that is averaging 3 blocks per game. Busco is averaging 32 rebounds per game, led by Bridget Timbrook with 6.3, but they will have a harder time scoring inside on Carrie Shappell’s defense. Leo definitely wants a better showing after struggling Saturday against Northrop.

Players to Watch:

Leo: Izzy Collins Junior Combo Guard

Busco: Kena Hamman Senior Forward

Leo by 7

Friday Nov. 11

2-0 Woodlan @ Bellmont 

Woodlan has looked really good 2 games into the season, and that defense along with their senior leadership and their size makes Woodlan a fascinating team to watch all season long. Add to the fact this is Gary Cobb’s emotional farewell season, and you have one of the 260’s more likable teams.

Now, if only Woodlan can show more consistency making shots, they would be a serious threat to Jay County in the ACAC. Senior Avah Smith currently leads the team averaging 20 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game on 47% shooting. Sophomore Brooke Knuebuhler is averaging 10 points and shooting 40% from the 3-ball.

It doesn’t get easier as they travel to a pretty rowdy environment in the Bellmont Teepee to face the Lady Braves. The unique part with Bellmont is this will be their 2nd game of the season (Their first game is tonight vs Concordia) after their volleyball team went to state for the third time in four seasons.

While they are used to that by now, it is still something to see when they’re able to adjust back into their basketball shape. Bellmont plays a much tighter man-to-man defense, and so this is a team that heavily relies on their speed and taking charges.

The question is: Does Bellmont have an answer for Avah Smith? So far, no one has.

Players to Watch:

Woodlan: Avah Smith Senior Power Forward

Bellmont: Hailey Cole Junior Combo Forward

Woodlan by 4

Angola @ 2-0 DeKalb (NE8 Game of the Week)

This is a nice little regional rivalry between two former NEIAC schools where both teams have athletes, guards, and some grit to make this game a very interesting one to watch. Now add the fact DeKalb has yet to lose a game, and the Barons could be the most fascinating team in the area North of Fort Wayne.

Ashley and Delaney Cox are a difficult duo to contain, and Lillie Cone is feeling it from downtown right now. I still have questions on whether the Barons can sustain this surge against the press and the 1-2-2 trap. The one thing Angola has that DeKalb has yet to face this season is their combination of size and athleticism to suffocate opposing offenses (WHEN THEY ARE CONSISTENT).

I’ve already mentioned Angola three times this week, so you know this is a very busy first week of Angola Lady Hornets’ basketball.

Players to Watch:

Angola: Macy Oberlin Junior Combo Forward

DeKalb: Lillie Cone Senior Shooting Guard

Angola by 6

Saturday Nov. 12

1-1 Leo @ Blackhawk Christian

I don’t know too much about this year’s Lady Braves so far, but I do know they will have some size capable of disrupting offensive flow against Leo’s scrappy guards and athletic forwards. I expect this game to be an entertaining defensive showdown.

Players to Watch:

Leo: Leah May Senior Guard/Forward (IWU Softball Commit)

Blackhawk: Allie Boyer Junior Center

Blackhawk by 2

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