LANSING | You could see the frustration on the faces of T.F. South boys basketball coach John O'Rourke and his assistant Rich Tarbunas after the Rebels fell 62-48 to Hillcrest on Friday night.
It was not losing that irked them, but the ups and downs of this season. One quarter the Rebels look like they can play with the best of them, then the next quarter, they are flat. Such is life when you have teenagers.
"It has been so frustrating," O'Rourke said. "Tonight, we play a good first half, we're down three (30-27) at the half," O'Rourke said. "We come out in the third quarter and don't play well and you saw what happened. The same thing happened against T.F. North (a 47-45 loss). We just can't put together those four quarters."
Junior Jamahre Baker agreed and with the Class 4A tournament starting in a few weeks, now is the time to get it together.
"We have to finish stronger," Baker said. "We play well, but then have a letdown and have to fight to get back into the game."
Such was the case Friday as Hillcrest dominated the third quarter as the Rebels turned the ball over, made bad passes and let the Hawks get second and third shots. This is not how you should be playing as you get ready to enter the postseason.
"We just let our focus get away and then the game gets away," O'Rourke said.
With two regular-season games left, it's not too late to get it together. Crete-Monee comes in Tuesday night and the Warriors are coming off a 52-50 last-second loss on Friday to Bloom Township. Crete has struggled, but seems to be playing better. That game will be a test and if the Rebels play sloppy and careless, it could turn into another loss.
The Rebels wrap up the regular season on Feb. 22 with Bremen. Another team that has struggled, but a team that cannot be overlooked because if you let the Braves hang around, you might find yourself on the short end of the score. That is usually a big game because Bremen coach Brian Flaherty is a T.F. South grad and he and O'Rourke are best friends.
The Rebels need to get some consistency and time is running out. They are not a bad team, but they are just not finishing off opponents. They get Lincoln-Way East in the opening round of the Class 4A Marian Catholic Regional. The Griffins are another team that has played well against some of the better teams, but have struggled in the long run. South would like to get on a roll and maybe at least win a playoff game.
They can do that if they just learn to play four quarters and finish.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at email@example.com.