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5 things to watch for this weekend in prep hoops: Can Homestead out pace Warsaw?

Homestead's Brandon Durnell gets up a shot while being fouled by Huntington North's Chazz Bruce in the season opener last Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)
Homestead's Brandon Durnell gets up a shot while being fouled by Huntington North's Chazz Bruce in the season opener last Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Vance of The News-Sentinel)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Also: Kyla Covington/Taniece Chapman will be a big matchup as Snider battles South Side

Friday, December 02, 2016 8:02 AM

The opening week of boys season is officially in the books, but a series of mostly predictable outcomes left few questions answered. Will any riddles of basketball season be solved this week as the boys go at it more and the girls delve deeper into conference play? Here are five things to watch for this weekend.

1. Who wins the Kyla Covington/Taniece Chapman battle?

Snider and South Side will face off tonight to determine who officially will be second string behind Homestead heading towards the holiday tournament. Both teams have aggressively dove into the season behind their post players and those two will clash head to head. While more often than not a battle with this much parity of two players would mean that the other players around them would have to jockey for position, there is little doubt this is a two female battle. Chapman is a fantastic rebounder and Covington bodies her way to the basket at will. Something will have to give, the question is who will let up first.

2. Who controls the pace, Homestead or Warsaw?

Homestead boys will get a visit from Warsaw tonight and both teams are well known for controlling the speed of a game. The Spartans were not on their best game in a season opener against Huntington North, but still paced the game out right, especially in the absence of Jack Ferguson and Brandon Durnell to foul trouble. Homestead will also be more well equipped to handle Warsaw’s Kyle Mangas than anyone else has been this season, but does that mean they have hope of actually stopping him. After watching Homestead in week one, I believe more than anyone that the development of freshman Jake Archbold will be a tell tale sign of how the Spartans will grow this season. The fact that he drew the defensive assignment of Hunter Hollowell in the season opener speaks volumes about how coach Chris Johnson feels towards Archbold and his ability to play the Homestead pace.

3. Do Homestead girls skate through their first out of state test?

For the second straight year, Homestead will do battle with Notre Dame Academy from Ohio. So far, the Spartans are as advertised but these out of state opponents are a hard book to read nonetheless. The key to slowing Homestead has to first be the keep the ball out of the hands of Karissa McLaughlin as much as possible and that is well known. With her splitting point guard duties with Madisen Parker, Notre Dame Academy will need to play very tight off-ball defense on McLaughlin to stay anywhere near close to the Spartans.

4. Is Woodlan finally a spoiler in the ACAC?

Jay County has absolutely dominated in the ACAC on both sides of the spectrum, but the boys have seemed especially dominant in conference. While the Patriots have gotten off to a rougher start overall than predicted, all signs and opinions still point to them dominating their conference. But, Woodlan has looked strong in wins over Bellmont and Garrett. Austin Fancher and Aaron Hahn have been a strong 1-2 punch. If anyone can hang a loss on Jay County in conference this season, this early game may have the best chance to knock the still finding their footing Patriots from their throne.

5. Who develops a standout leader first?

New Haven stands at 1-0 and Blackhawk Christian sits at 1-1. And yet, it would be hard for anyone to pinpoint who is officially at the forefront offensively for either team. New Haven was surprisingly led by Whitney Harris in their opening win, a name well forgotten with how many proven scorers they had returning. And Blackhawk, they were led by a transfer and a sophomore in their first two games, not the names that you expect to step up as returners. So who leads who here? Good money is on Diamond Towns of the Bulldogs making his first big mark of the season, but a controlled battle of JC Gardner and Lucas Kroft could be more telling to the overall game. Either way, someone needs to take control.

Follow Dan Vance on Twitter at danvance

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