Goshen News, Goshen, IN

December 19, 2013

Hoop pick master on a roll

BY GREG KEIM greg.keim@goshennews.com
Goshen News

---- — GOSHEN — Another good week put me nine games over the .500 mark in high school boys basketball predictions for the 2013-14 season.

Last week’s tally was 11-1 (91.7 percent). The lone miss was Penn over Concord.

Four games — Fairfield at NorthWood, Lakeland at Bethany Christian, Westview at Central Noble and West Noble at Churubusco — that were scheduled for last Saturday were postponed due to the wintery weather conditions and have not yet been made up.

The 11-1 mark improves the season-to-date one to 23-14 (62.2 percent).

Friday

Northridge at Goshen — These two last clashed in the Class 4A sectional at North Side Gym in Elkhart a year ago with Northridge winning 62-46. The Raiders have a 13-11 advantage over the Goshen Redskins in recent contests. Nate Ritchie, Pete Smith, Sam Ahonen and Tom Morrison give the Raiders a lot of scoring options. Northridge.

Fairfield at Hamilton — Fairfield has won 21 of the last 24 meetings with Hamilton, including a 67-39 decision last season. Hamilton may be improved this season, but so are the Falcons. Joe Line is off to a great start and John Stack is also averaging in double figures. Fairfield.

Plymouth at NorthWood — Triton is a common opponent. NorthWood defeated the Trojans 59-40 and Plymouth lost 59-44. This one went to overtime last season before the NorthWood Panthers won 69-83. Plymouth holds a 14-8 lead the recent meetings in the series. NorthWood.

Wawasee at Warsaw — Both teams have played Manchester. Wawasee dropped a 45-44 decision while Warsaw won 42-35. Warsaw increased its lead in recent meetings with the Warriors to 21-6 after a 90-70 victory a year ago. Warsaw.

Concord at Elkhart Memorial — This Concord Minutemen hold a slim 15-14 advantage in the series, following last season’s 51-46 victory. Both teams could use the win so look for it to be a close one. Concord may have a slight edge with the combination of Ramon Johnson and Filip Serwatka. Concord.

Central Noble at West Noble — These two are off to opposite starts with Central Noble looking for its first win and West Noble still unbeaten. West Noble was a 55-42 winner last season and the Chargers have come out on top in 13 of the last 22 games with Central Noble. West Noble.

Eastside at Lakeland — Eastside won a 44-43 thriller a year ago. Lakeland has a 15-8 edge in recent meetings with the Blazers. Eastside might have a slight edge in this one based on a little stronger schedule so far, but this one could be a close one. Eastside.

Westview at Angola — Westview is off to a 2-2 start, but the losses have been to good teams in Northridge (54-50) and NorthWood (64-52). Angola lost to Northridge 49-37. Westview plays a strong schedule against a number of larger schools in preparation for NECC games like this. Westview was a 63-28 winner over Angola a year ago and have a 15-11 lead in recent meetings in the series. Westview.

Culver at Jimtown — The Jimtown Jimmies won a 49-48 overtime decision a year ago and hold a 16-4 advantage in recent meetings with Culver. Culver is off to a 4-0. Jimtown is 2-2 with losses to Northridge and NorthWood, which could help them keep this close. Culver.

Elkhart Central at Michigan City — South Bend Riley is a common foe. Michigan City defeated Riley 66-57 while Central dropped a 57-46 decision to the Riley Wildcats. Central was a 57-53 winner over Michigan City last season and have won six of the last eight meetings in the series. Michigan City.

Saturday

Fairfield at Goshen — The Redskins hold a 13-7 lead in the series with the Falcons after last season’s 56-43 victory. Fairfield is averaging 75.7 points per game on offense compared to 47.4 for Goshen. The Redskins are allowing an average of 44-0 points per game on defense while Fairfield yields 56.0. Fairfield.

Elkhart Memorial at Valparaiso — These two have not squared off since a 2009 regional contest won by Memorial (46-43). The series is tied 4-4 in recent meetings. Memorial is scoring at an average of 54,7 points per game and allowing 64.0 per contest. Valparaiso averages 46.4 on offense and gives up 41.2 on defense. Valparaiso.

Bethany Christian Holiday Tourney

Elkhart Christian vs. SB Trinity — The Class 1A ECA Eagles already have a pair of wins over 4A schools in Memorial (63-40) and Mishawaka (62-47). The Eagles are averaging 68.0 points per game on offense and that could stretch a Trinity defense that allows 63.6 points on defense. ECA.

Lakeland Christian vs. Bethany Christian — These two have already played this season with the Bethany Bruins posting a 71-43 victory. There’s always the danger of looking past a team when you faced them a second time, but veteran coach Jim Buller has been around long enough that he knows to have his players focused on the first game of the tourney and not the championship until if and when they get there. Bethany.

Consolation

SB Trinity vs. Lakeland Christian — These two were slated to play last Saturday, but the contest was postponed due to the weather conditions. Trinity is a non-IHSAA school and Lakeland Christian will be the first IHSSA program they have faced so far. Lakeland Christian.

Championship

Elkhart Christian vs. Bethany Christian — The Eagles cruised to the tournament title a year ago and with the majority of their players back again this season should be in the driver’s seat. ECA is dangerous from the standpoint the Eagles can score on a consistent basis in the inside and once an opposing team tries to cover the inside can take their game out beyond the 3-point arc. ECA.