COUNTRY CLUB HILLS | The schedule has been a tough one, but T.F. North boys basketball coach Tim Bankston has always played a tough schedule so as to have his team ready for postseason.
This season is no different. The one thing that is different is his past teams always finished strong and came around. This year's team is young, especially in the post, and it was expected they would struggle.
"We knew it would be tough, but we figured they would come around," Bankston said after Friday's 74-41 loss to South Suburban Blue Conference opponent Hillcrest. "I don't know what to think. I don't know if we will come around because it is getting late (in the season)."
North is 9-13 and 5-4 in the SSC Blue. Even Bankston figured his team would lose 10 or 11 games because of its inexperience and the schedule, but he does not expect his team to not compete. That was the case for the first half of Friday's debacle.
Once again, he got very little from his big men, though Hillcrest had a big size advantage. What his team could not do was break a trap. The Meteors time and time again dribbled right into it and turned the ball over. When Hillcrest gave them the baseline, they did not drive it. Instead, they forced bad shots or threw the ball away.
"We just kept making the same mistakes," Bankston said. "You saw in the third quarter, we executed a little, but we did that for a few minutes, then let things get away again."
What Bankston was talking about was the Meteors' taking advantage of Hillcrest's weak side. They caused some turnovers then found the open man on the weak side and converted. Then, they came back and forced a bad shot.
What's worse is T.F. North did not seem as if it was ready to play and did not show much emotion and that did not go unnoticed by Bankston. All he asks is an effort and if the team loses, well at least it left everything on the court.
This has got to be tough on him because his teams have always played hard.
There is still some time left and there is no reason the Meteors can't get it together for the postseason. Friday, they played without emotion against a top team which is also a rival. Next Friday, they play District 215 rival T.F. South. That alone should be enough to get a team fired up. A few years back, North started slow, but ended up making to the Class 3A Chicago State Supersectional.
It's not too late, but time is running out.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.