CALUMET CITY | Just when the T.F. North boys basketball team thought it was cruising Friday night, it was almost pushed off the road and into a ditch by its own doings.
The Meteors came back and won 79-78 as Sadiq Salisu hit a basket with 7.7 seconds left.
The good thing for Tim Bankston and his team is they are 3-0 and 3-0 in the South Suburban Blue. If they learned from this game, it was good. If the Meteors think they are good enough to squander 20-point leads, they will get a wake-up call and sooner than they think.
With Richards coming in Friday and a date with Marian Catholic on Dec. 21 at the Crete-Monee Shootout, this young team will grow up fast.
Bankston starts on senior (Quawone Harris), three juniors (Salisu, Vance Johnson and Dirk Jordan), and a freshman in Jalen Tribble.
"I always say you coach in November, December for February," Bankston said. "You want them to be ready come the playoffs."
He has had young teams before and took his lumps early. This team is young and made plenty of mistakes Friday. Part of it was playing selfishly in the second half. After doing nearly everything right in building a 50-28 first-half lead, they came out sluggish and did not play team ball in the third quarter.
"You have to put guys in situations and let them work it out," Bankston said. "They will make the mistakes, but the idea is for them to learn from it. I would rather have them learn in December and be ready in February."
There is talent of this team, but the Meteors also have to work together and not worry who gets the points. It worked in the first half when they pressured Eisenhower into turnovers, took good shots and kept their mistakes to a minimum.
"I think they know they didn't play very well in the second half," Bankston said. "If not, we will remind them for sure. They maybe need to be humbled little bit."
This team has talent and Bankston and his staff will develop depth. His teams are known for good defense and doing the fundamentals. Friday, North did not box out very well, allowing Eisenhower second and third shots. It also got sloppy with its ballhandling, thus allowing Eisenhower to come back and take a late lead.
To their credit, the Meteors got the job done, albeit in a sloppy way. There is size, but with a young team, maybe more than one person will have to emerge as one of the leaders. It will be up to the team to take care of that.