Prep notes

PREP NOTEBOOK: Snow or not, teams deal with extra time off

2014-01-30T19:00:00Z 2014-02-06T04:22:05Z PREP NOTEBOOK: Snow or not, teams deal with extra time offMike Nieto mike.nieto@nwi.com, (219) 933-3232 nwitimes.com
January 30, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

With the weather winning out, local teams have had to adjust their schedules and have lost out to the the polar vortex. Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday due to cold weather.

The T.F. South boys basketball team last played on Jan. 23. Tuesday's game at Rich East was postponed until Monday. It is not a great situation for coach John O'Rourke.

"We haven't been in the gym since Saturday," he said.

"In my 15 years of coaching, I have never seen anything like this," O'Rourke said. "We are worried that we just don't get out of shape. Hopefully, they did some working out on their own and if they did some shoveling, they got a workout."

Rebels Donald Stone said he and Wendell Davis played basketball at a local recreation center.

"We did some drills and ran," Stone said. "You have to get out and work out and not just sit around. We got into some games with the people there."

Friday off: T.F. South will have five straight Fridays with no game and that is not because of the weather, but because that's the way the schedule worked out.

The Rebels played Jan. 23, which was a Thursday and are off tonight. They play at Tinley Park on Wednesday, then are off on Feb. 8.

"It is different and it does change your routine," Stone said. "We are used to a game on Friday, practice Saturday morning and sometimes a Saturday game. I do not like it, but that's the way it goes.

"Friday at school, it feels different because usually you are thinking about the game. Instead you have practice and go home, maybe go to another game and scout a little."

Pingatore and Flaherty: Two coaches who have over 1,600 wins between them will meet tonight when St. Joseph, coached by Gene Pingatore, comes to Mount Carmel to face Mike Flaherty and the Caravan in a Catholic League North matchup.

"Gene is a great coach and you know they are going to run the motion offense, it is no secret," Flaherty said. "The thing is to try and stop them. They are so well coached."

Winters past: Flaherty has been coaching for over 40 years and has been a head coach at Mendel Catholic, Thornridge and now Mount Carmel. He said he cannot remember a winter this cold or schools closing for days at a time because of the cold. He does remember some snow stories.

"One year, when I was at Mendel, our bus wouldn't start after a game at St. Ignatius, so we had the parents take kids home," Flaherty said. "It took us a couple of trips back and forth, but we got it done."

There was no thought of taking the CTA.

"Could you imagine how long that would take? Think of the transfers and going from Roosevelt Road to 111th Street," Flaherty said. "We got the kids back to school safely."

He said one year his car wouldn't start in the Mendel parking lot and he spent the night in his office.

He also recalls in 1975 driving the Mendel team bus during a driving snowstorm to Streator for a Thanksgiving tournament. The player he told to watch for Illinois Route 23 fell asleep and they missed the exit and drove all the way to LaSalle.

"A gas station guy said next exit, not realizing we had passed it," Flaherty said. "We had to forfeit. I drove us back to Chicago."

Flaherty was a student at St. Rita in January of 1967, the year of the big blizzard.

"I lived near St. Rita, so I could have made it to school," Flaherty recalled. "Back then, there were no cellphones, Internet, texts or email. You had to go to school to find out if there was school or not."

Or just listen to Wally Phillips on WGN radio for school closings.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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