MIKE NIETO: Time off good for T.F. South

2012-01-19T18:00:00Z 2012-12-21T23:29:22Z MIKE NIETO: Time off good for T.F. SouthBy Mike Nieto Prep Beat
January 19, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

Sometimes a little time off isn't too bad.

That's exactly what the T.F. South boys basketball team has had. The Rebels last played Jan. 13 and won't do so again until Tuesday, when they face a tough Rich East club.

The Rebels have not been completely idle between games. They've had practices and worked on things that hampered them the first half of the season.

"I would have liked to have maybe played a game, but the practice is good," South coach John O'Rourke said. "It has given us time to work on the little things, and those little things are important."

South (10-7, 4-3 South Suburban Blue) is having a decent season. What the Rebels need to work on is consistency. According to O'Rourke, things such as bad passes and wrong cuts have likely cost his team a few victories.

"We are a few plays away from maybe 13 or 14 wins," he said. "In five games, we've been within three points or less and couldn't finish. We are trying to get everyone to understand what it takes to win.

"Those losses can be the difference between a winning and losing season and (affect) your (sectional) seeding. It came down to one or two plays -- that's the things we have had the opportunity to work on."

O'Rourke anticipates some challenges ahead for his squad. Besides Rich East, there are conference matchups with Hillcrest, T.F. North, Tinley Park and Lemont, which is enjoying a breakthrough season under former T.F. North coach and T.F. South athletic director Rick Runaas.

"That's why we have to start eliminating the mistakes and keep our focus throughout the game," O'Rourke said. "We've had guys step up, and we have a pretty good group."

Paul Pierce has been the most consistent Rebel, while Kenny Doss and Ira Crawford have both come on strong in recent games.

With a week off, perhaps the South players will be mentally refreshed, which could be as important as having fresh legs. As long as no rust builds up, it's a good thing.

The Rebels have looked good in some games, but, as O'Rourke said, have beaten themselves in a few others. Still, they are poised to have a winning season, which would be O'Rourke's second in his three years as head coach.

While T.F. South has not been a basketball power, this team may be the one to get things rolling. One way to do that is for the Rebels to finish strong.

And that means finishing games.


This column is solely the writer's opinion. Reach him at

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