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Posted On: 10/15/18 11:45 AM
The season is coming up quickly and we are starting to pour into our previews for the upcoming season. Today, we are looking at those Regional setups across the state starting with 1 and ending with 16. Today, we preview Regional 1 with Sectionals 1-4.
Last Year – 17-18
*Based on Sagarin from 2017-18
Teams that are in the Top 10 of the State in 4A
Valparaiso – The return of Brandon Newman moved this team from a borderline Regional Contender to a State Title contender. They will be in the Top 10 to start the year because they have so many pieces that on their own could have big seasons but the continuity and depth should play big factors late in the season.
Top Ten Potential
Teams that could be in the Top 10 of the State in 4A
Penn – Penn has been competitive for years but this could be the year they make a massive run and be a factor in Regionals and Semistate. With Lutz and Applegate, they have a pair of studs that should produce at a high level. There is a clearer path than they have had in some years and only Valparaiso should be a team that could cause them tons of problems in this part of the state.
Compete With Most
Teams that could be well above .500 this Season
Chesterton – Chesterton is coming off a solid year but did lose quite a bit of talent from their senior group. However, bringing back Jake Wadding will give them a really big time scoring option. They might not be able to beat those upper tier teams but to be honest, they won’t play many until tournament time anyway so they should find quite a bit of success.
Munster – Munster has been rebuilding for some years but they now have a sizable amount of talent that can compete with those in Sectional 1. Crown Point and East Chicago are down and they won’t have too many teams above .500 that will be in their way. Their depth at the guard spots should allow them to play a few different ways and keep pace with those teams that might want to run against them.
Teams that were good last year but could struggle this Season
Merrillville – Merrillville might be in their first year where they are going to be searching for guys at the end of the year. Usually, they reload pretty well even though they graduate a ton of talent. This year, could be a bit different. At least initially, there aren’t those guys that are known commodities that will step in. By the end of the year, we might be saying something different.
South Bend Riley – Riley has been the team of the area for the last four years with their outstanding 2018 class. But, they are gone and we are looking at new players to come in and play. Jalen Jennings is the only person coming back with any sort of defined role and expanded experience. Add in Blake Wesley and you have a duo that should be solid but what other pieces will step up is a complete unknown for the first time in four years.
Preseason Power Ranking
Brandon Newman (Sr., Valparaiso)
Jake Wadding (Jr., Chesterton)
Drew Lutz (Sr., Penn)
Noah Applegate (Sr., Penn)
Jalen Jennings (Sr., South Bend Riley)
Chris Mantis (So., Lowell)
Maurion Martin (Sr., Portage)
Nathan Aerts (Sr., Valparaiso)
Clay Hilliard (Sr., Plymouth)
Bryant Robinson (Sr., Goshen)
Honorable Mention Team:
Hank Smith (Sr., Elkhart Memorial)
Sam Snodgrass (Sr., Crown Point)
Wade Williams (Sr., Kankakee Valley)
Dustin Hudak (Sr., Lowell)
Eric Jerge (Sr., Munster)
Jevon Morris (Sr., Munster)
Rishard Balkcom (Sr., Merrillville)
Cameron Koschnick (Sr., Penn)
Josh Davis (Jr., Munster)
Alex Stauffer (Jr. Northridge)
Luka Balac (So., Munster)
Blake Wesley (So., South Bend Riley)
Michael Johnson (Sr., Concord)