MIKE NIETO: T.F. North boys basketball team has a tough road ahead

2013-01-18T23:00:00Z 2014-03-21T23:37:09Z MIKE NIETO: T.F. North boys basketball team has a tough road aheadMike Nieto Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 18, 2013 11:00 pm  • 

CALUMET CITY | Tim Bankston may be like the parent who maybe lets his child learn a lesson on their own.

In a loss to Farragut, he did not call a timeout during an Admirals' run. Friday, when Tinley Park was giving the Meteors fits, Baknkston let his team play through it.

North beat the Titans 70-49.

Last week, they did not fare as well in a 63-60 loss.

"I wasn't calling no timeout," Bankston told his players after the game. "They have to learn to play through it. It will help them in the long run."

Call it tough love, but Bankston's teams always get into high gear about this time of year. This year's team, which is senior-laden, got off to a fast start, but hit a little bit of a wall at the State Farm Holiday Classic.

His players, who struggled as juniors, know they have to take responsibility.

"That is our job," senior D.J. Deere said. "We have a tough schedule with North Chicago on Monday. We cannot look ahead, but we have to keep our focus on who we are playing."

The Meteors (16-4, 8-0 South Suburban Blue) face North Chicago 1 p.m. Monday at the Whitney Young.

Then Hillcrest comes to town Jan. 25.

"We have to play it one at a time," senior Marquis Todd said. "We want to win conference, but we can't look past anybody. We have to approach each game with (the intent of) playing hard.

"We learned from last year and now we are seniors. It is our job to come to play and make sure everybody is ready."

What this team is learning is how to put someone away. That is what it couldn't do last year and it showed, but a year of maturity and Bankston and his staff driving the point home have made the Meteors a good team.

They are not great, but pretty good.

T.F. North has playmakers like Nick Wood and Deere. Todd knows his job is to control the boards and get those bunny baskets. Greg McClain and Deere are a nice tandem at guard. Both are not afraid to pass, but also not afraid to take a shot when it is there.

If North had a problem Friday, it was fouls. When you are up big, there is no need to stop the clock. That is one way to let an opponent back in the game. If the Meteors get into foul trouble against Hillcrest or T.F. South or Lemont, it can hurt them.

Last year the Meteors played one of their worst games in a blowout at Hillcrest and lost to District 215 rival T.F. South for the first time in 11 years.

I am sure they remember that.

This is a good team that can be better if it works together.

This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at mike.nieto@nwi.com.

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