2020 'Pick 6' Renegade
Girls Basketball Week Six (6) Poll

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


A lot of teams will be trying to put the squeeze on Crown Point's Alyna Santiago and Jessica Carrothers, but the Bulldogs have busted loose after a 12-0 start to the season. (Photo by Mark Smith)

CROWN POINT (12-09-2019) It seems that my long time dream of every team having its basketball games on local television is in the process of coming true.

Munster has hooked up with radio station WJOB to carry all of the Mustangs girls and boys home games on the ‘WJOB Network,’ an app TV channel that is easily available on Internet based devices such as ‘Roku’.

The way they describe it on the air, WJOB and Munster are sharing revenue from airing all their basketball games as a one-year experiment to see if attendance at games decrease (or maybe increase) as teams get more TV exposure.

And watching the IHSAA Network, another app-driven channel that can be accessed anywhere, I’m seeing that Fishers and Hamilton Southeastern are doing the same type of TV-school combo media partnership down state.
I have no idea how things like ‘Roku’ work. You’re basically watching over your home computer, which certain cheap (very cheap) TV monitors pick up like you are using your phone.

If you live in Munster, you can watch all of your local high school’s basketball games. How will the experiment work out?

I’m going to guess.

On some extreme bad weather nights, a few people who would have attended games, will stay home. But students and parents, seeing their ‘people’ playing on ‘TV’ will want to be there. If the ‘Munster Channel’ promotes future games and urges viewers to be there (and they will), attendance at the games will eventually increase.

I know I’m biased. But high school basketball, especially Indiana high school basketball, sells itself, especially when the local team is winning. And as the Chicago Cubs proved for generations, putting teams’ games on free TV is less an invitation to stay home as it is a two hour advertisement for your team. When local TV outlets stopped broadcasting games in the last decade, I think interest in high school team sports dropped.

In the uneducated opinion of someone who has pointed a camera at teenagers for decades, if kids see the home team winning on TV, they will want to be at the next game. They want to be part of winning. We all do.

Crown Point was 28-1 last year and they are 12-0 this year and, to my knowledge, not one of those 41 games has been available on TV anywhere that people from Crown Point could watch them. I wish I could change that.

Some teams are a third of the way through the season so this first poll is a little late. But its never too late to start annoying folks by ranking your team below where you think they should be.

Let's look at my six picks to click for early December.

1. (4A) Crown Point (12-0)
2019 (28-1), 2018 (13-11), 2017 (16-9), 2016 (20-6)

CROWN POINT: With very high expectations, Crown Point loaded up the schedule with a lot of travel and 17 games before the first of the year and a 13-day holiday break. So far, so good. CP’s 59-43 win over a highly-regarded Fremd high (5-1) in Palatine, Illinois kept CP rolling lonely at the top of this poll. One night earlier, an 80-37 win at Portage (6-2) was a little more vivid than most expected. Until then, I didnt think the Lady Bulldogs had played well against decent teams like Northridge, Warsaw, Castle and Bloomington South.

CP was 28-0 last year when they got beat by Hamilton Southeastern 62-28 so I’d guess no one around the team is either very surprised or very excited by their very positive start to the season. Who will beat CP? Class 3A No. 1 Salem (7-0) or Class 4A No. 7 Penn (9-0) at the Hall-of-Fame tournament on Dec. 27. in New Castle. Maybe.

Next up is a DAC home game with Valparaiso (5-4) this Friday, Dec. 13.

2.(4A) Merrillville (6-1)
2019 (11-12), 2018 (5-18), 2017 (21-6), 2016 (20-7)

MERRILLVILLE: The Pirates do have a surprising 16-point loss to Valparaiso but this Pirate team looks ready to turn back the clock to, well, at least 2017. A full-court defense that wears on you has the purple team off to a good start. No big scorers here. Just a running, pressing squad that causes problems. The 61-51 win over St. Joseph’s (6-1) is the highlight of the year so far. Storm clouds are on the horizon. Class 4A No. 7 Penn (9-0) is on the way to Merrillville this Saturday (Dec. 14) night.

Down the road, Merrillville is at arch-rival Crown Point (12-0) Saturday night Jan. 18.

3. (4A) Munster (7-0)
2019 (15-9), 2018 (16-8), 2017 (9-15)

MUNSTER: The Mustangs have been riding hard, facing some angry cowgirls and they’ve always gotten back to the ranch so far. Munster was down 13 to Andrean (4-4) and rallied to win 49-46 on November 26. The lady ponies are the only team to beat Chesterton (7-1) and they have a 57-52 win over LaPorte (6-3). Munster could be 11-0 when they get to the eight-team Lake Central Holiday tournament and play Portage on Jan. 3.

4. (4A) Portage (5-2)
2019 (12-14), 2018 (14-12), 2017 (11-16)

PORTAGE: Portage has some nice early wins over Class 1A No. 2 Oregon-Davis (7-1) and a good 2A team in Bishop Noll (4-3). An 80-37 loss to Crown Point (12-0) is probably something the Indians can put behind them quickly. They don't have to worry about CP again until February. Portage came from 14 points behind in the fourth quarter to beat Andrean. I’ll know a whole lot more about the Indians’ fortunes going forward when they get off the bus at Chesterton on Friday the 13th.

5. (4A) Chesterton (7-1)
2019 (11-12), 2018 (20-3), 2017 (13-10)

CHESTERTON: As you may have guessed, I’m not sure about Chesterton. There’s no big win on their early season resume so far. The only team with a winning record they have defeated is Class 2A No. 10 South Central (6-1). The Trojans did sink 25 of 32 (78.1%) from the foul line in a double-overtime win over Lake Central and 14 of 19, (73.6%) against Oregon-Davis. 70% foul shooting wins a lot of games. But it's about time for mid-term Trojan exams. Tests will include Portage (5-2), Plymouth (6-3), Valparaiso (5-4) and Kankakee Valley (7-3), all before the end of the month.

6. (3A) Kankakee Valley (7-3)
2019 (20-5), 2018 (21-4), 2017 (22-2), 19-4 (2016)

WHEATFIELD: I thought that KV lost a lot from last season, but apparently they still have a lot. The Kougars forced 38 turnovers in a 58-49 win over Michigan City on Dec. 3 and they also topped 1A No. 6 Morgan Township (7-2). The only Kougar losses are to Valparaiso (5-4), 3A No. 3 Benton Central (8-1) and undefeated Knox (9-0). It should also be noted that KV was in Class 4A the last four years (I don't know how) and now they will again be in the 3A playoffs where they should be. That does not matter now, but it will in February.

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Revised: December 09, 2019 .