2020 'Pick 6' Renegade Boys Basketball Week-6 Poll

A USA-365.com Special Report by Mark Smith


You'll need a search party to find Chesterton in the AP state Top-10 or Coaches Poll, but no team in Northwest Indiana has gotten off to a better start heading into 2020.
(Photo by Mark Smith)

CHESTERTON (01-08-2020)

It's definitely a new year. Hanover Central is playing giant-sized neighbor Lake Central and it's a close game.

Gary’s 21st century, still technically a Class 1A school, defeats 4A Valparaiso.

Munster is 6-0 against Class 4A schools and the only loss is to Class 3A Griffith (6-3)?

And it's not like Kouts has never had good teams, but check some Mustang final scores. Kouts 115, West Central 21. Kouts 105, Hammond Science and Technical 52. Kouts 91, Covenant Christian 45.

And it's not breaking news in the land of the wild horses. Kouts broke 100 three times last season, too. The showdown is on for Jan. 28 when high-flying Gary 21st Century (9-2) heads down to the south end of Porter County.

And I want to mention again that Munster home games will be televised on the WJOB Network. That includes Munster (9-1) vs. Michigan City (7-1) on Jan. 21, Munster vs. Griffith (6-3) on Feb. 6 and Munster vs. Chesterton (10-1) on Feb. 15.

1. (4A) Chesterton (10-1)
2019 (19-7), 2018 (21-4), 2017 (16-9)

CHESTERTON: Somebody call the Top-10 and tell them that Chesterton is in Indiana. I would write off the 67-56 neutral site loss to 2A No. 1 (Fort Wayne) Blackhawk (8-1) and note the 50-48 road win at 1A (and 21st Century is not really a 1A school) No. 3 21st Century (8-2). The season has gone very well for the Trojans. Maybe we should hold that phone call until the Trojans beat a top Class 4A team. The big win so far was on the road 50-48 at 21st Century (8-2) in Gary.

2. (1A) 21st Century (8-2)
2019 (19-7), 2018 (21-7), 2017 (18-10)

GARY: You’ll hear me say that Gary’s 21st Century Cougars are not a ‘true’ Class 1A school. But that’s more opinion than anything else The charter school is officially listed as having just 277 students. But the Gary school that was eliminated by former 1A state champ Blackhawk Christian (Fort Wayne Blackhawk is now 2A) has a very good team. They’ve topped Valparaiso (7-4) and Griffith (6-4), both by 24 points. The Cougars took out Lowell (6-4) by 17 points. Only Chesterton and Mooresville (7-4) have rejected them. I do love the schedule-maker at 21st Century. The Cougars have Columbus North (9-2), Indy metro superpower Cathedral (8-2) and undefeated Kouts (8-0) left to play. Let the good times roll.

3.(4A) Munster (9-1)
2019 (22-5), 2018 (17-7), 2017 (13-12)

MUNSTER: I need to see somebody rip up Munster’s 2-3 zone defense before I knock them. The Mustangs have allowed just 43 points a game against a schedule that has them beating arch-rival Lake Central (6-4) twice already. Don’t tell anybody that I said this, but I think Hammond’s 67-55 win over Munster on Dec. 6 was somewhat of a fluke. No one else has come anywhere near 67 points against the Mustangs. Munster has a very interesting weekend in February where they play at Gary West Side (7-3) on Friday and then host Chesterton (9-1) on Saturday. That’s not a test many teams can pass.

4. (4A) Valparaiso (7-4)
2019 (21-6), 2018 (20-6), 2017 (21-4)

VALPARAISO: The Vikings do have that 64-40 loss to 21st Century (8-2) and they’ve also lost to Jeffersonville (8-2), Franklin Central (6-2) and Warsaw (9-1), but don’t they get some credit for playing winning teams? The Vikings' high point so far was a 55-52 holiday tournament victory over Class 3A No. 8 Connersville (8-2). Heres another strength-of-schedule ranking. Valparaiso has Merrillville and Munster (9-1) on back-to-back nights at the end of this month.

5. (4A) Michigan City (7-1)
2019 (10-14), 2018 (10-19), 2017 (19-7)

MICHIGAN CITY: You know what you’re up against playing at Michigan City. They run like the wind. The Wolves average 76 points a game. The only team that slowed MC was Gary West Side in a 55-53 loss in Gary. But in MC’s first seven games, they reached 80 points four times. Can they keep it up? Usually teams that ‘play with pace’ as they say, do better earlier in the season (when they wear the opposition down) than late in the year when their foes have reached peak condition. The Wolves have played the soft part of the schedule with wins over Marquette, Westville and Washington Township, but the road is going to get bumpy. MC’s got a weekend coming up where they play DAC rival Chesterton (9-1) on a Thursday night and South Bend power Adams (10-1) on Saturday night.

6. (4A) Crown Point (5-5)
2019 (15-9), 2018 (16-8), 2017 (9-15)

CROWN POINT: There are better teams talent-wise (Hammond, West Side, LC) but I gave the Bulldogs little chance to beat Penn (4-3) and they did 71-64. Last Saturday, I thought CP was going to ride the sad bus back from Tippecanoe County, but they won at West Lafayette (5-4) by a 61-50 score. What’s going on here?

CP lost to Chesterton (10-1) just 44-35. The Bulldogs lost to state-rated Warsaw (8-1) by the score of 50-38. Okay, Munster (9-1), Bowman Academy (7-5) and Noblesville have all put the leash on ‘Dogs and when you watch CP play, you sure don’t see the L.A. Lakers. But CP 62, New Albany 54? Really?

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Revised: January 09, 2020 .