CALUMET CITY | T.F. North boys basketball coach Tim Bankston didn't have to say much to his team after Friday's 68-47 loss to Hillcrest.
The score and their play -- or lack of it -- said it all. You could see it on their faces. It was one of their worst games of the year.
It was similar to last year's blowout at Hillcrest. It wasn't T.F. North basketball.
"Yes it is, that's T.F. North basketball when you don't make free throws and throw the ball away," Bankston said. "We never got going. I don't know what it was, but we just played bad."
From shooting just 6-of-24 from the free-throw line to just throwing the ball away and not hustling, it was a game that the Meteors (16-6, 8-1 South Suburban Blue) were not ready to play. Bankston said his team did not practice well on Thursday and maybe it got caught up in the game being televised by Comcast cable.
"It's the regular season and so we can work on things,"Bankston said. "We have to get better. If we play like this in the postseason, it will be over pretty quick."
North got into foul trouble and Bankston was forced to play some underclassmen, but he was right in saying a senior-dominated team should not let the game get away from them.
They were intimidated by the Hawks and it was obvious.
"We had no zest for the game," Bankston said. "I wish I knew what it was, but I tell you this, we are going to correct it."
The Meteors have a week off before playing at District 215 rival T.F. South on Friday. I know Bankston will remind his team how South beat them last year for the first time in 10 years. If the rivalry and the fact they lost to them last year doesn't fire them up, then it could be a tough February.
This is a team that is loaded with seniors and talent. So they dropped a big game? Time to forget it and move on. They can learn from this debacle and get back on the right road. I know Bankston and his staff will make sure of that. They cannot have another one of these games.
They must look at the bigger picture and that starts now with taking care of the little things like the basketball and being ready to play. That is the responsibility of the seniors. Maybe they learned you can't turn it on when you want to and that you have to play hard all the time.
The seniors know this and I think they will make sure everything gets taken care of.
This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.