CALUMET CITY | For T.F. North there’s one word to sum up Friday night's 47-40 South Suburban crossover loss to Shepard, frustration.
The Meteors (6-8, 2-4 SSC Blue) couldn't put the Astros away and it cost them the game. Shepard (5-14, 2-4) stepped up in the second half to pull out the win.
Both teams started by turning the ball over numerous times, while missing countless layups and open jumpers.
“Some of the girls just weren’t there tonight,” T.F. North coach Chris Pruitt said. "The fouls didn’t help but I kept telling them that I can’t coach harder than they play, at some point they have to step up.”
The deciding factor for the Meteors may have been fouls as they dressed only eight player and found themselves in foul trouble early with three starters each picking up their third personal by the end of the first half.
“I couldn’t be aggressive because of the fouls,” center Esther Fagbemi said. “It’s frustrating, I couldn’t go after people the same way, I had to stand there with my hands up and pray for a miss.”
One of the bright spots for the Meteors was the play of senior guard Chanel Howard, who led all scorers with 14 points before fouling out midway through the fourth.
“I think we were over-confident, and lost focus,” Howard said. “I was trying to get people involved but if it doesn’t happen, you get to a point where you have to do it yourself.”
Pruitt sympathized with her point guard.
“We can’t let Chanel get frustrated,” Pruitt said. “She has the confidence and is a leader; her frustration is where does she go from here? She runs the offense for us but needs other complimentary players around her.
"People have to know their roles and do them.”
Trailing 27-22 late in the third quarter, the Meteors used a 7-1 run to regain the lead behind an aggressive full court press, but with Fagbemi and Howard in foul trouble, T.F. North was forced to abandon its full court pressure which allowed the Astros to retake the lead for good in the closing seconds of the quarter.
The Meteors made one more push in the final three minutes, cutting a double-digit lead to five points at 45-40 but couldn’t take advantage of three straight Shepard turnovers to get any closer.
“There’s no explanation for all the missed shots,” Pruitt said. “I don’t know if it’s because we were so wide open or a lack of confidence. Some girls have confidence and it shows, but everyone needs to step up and start playing as a team.”