North Side went through a tough stretch of the season in December, a stretch that helped turn the Redskins boys basketball team around.
The Redskins won three games and the championship in the SAC tournament Dec. 26-28, including a last-second 54-51 win over Snider in the title game. Then North Side took part in the Richmond tournament Jan. 2-4, playing four games and finishing as the runner-up with its lone loss of the season, 59-54 in the title game against Columbus North.
After showing little energy and intensity in some early regular-season wins, North Side hasn’t lost since and is playing in the Marion Regional on Saturday.
They felt challenged, coach Shabaz Khaliq said of the Richmond tournament. They played teams they weren’t aware of. They played some teams they didn’t know, so they had to play hard. Then they came back and saw the fruits of their labor and seeing what playing hard will do for you. Since then, they have it turned around, and that was big for us. They saw teams we played last year and just thought they would show up and win. They realized if we play hard and we play together, we are going to be awful tough. That was the turning point for us.
Along the way, the Redskins also wrapped up their second straight SAC regular-season championship with a 7-0 record. As a result, North Side led the 2013-14 All-SAC first team with three selections, announced Monday.
The Class 4A No. 4 Redskins (24-1) have seniors Tre’Vion Crews, Mike Davis and Oosha Mitchell on the first team.
Snider (Devlyn Williams and Trey’von Covington), Northrop (Jacoby Claypool and Enis Becirevic) and Wayne (Justin and Levi Mitchell) each had two players selected. Also on the first team are Bishop Dwenger’s Grady Eifert, Bishop Luers’ Tyrell Johnson and Concordia’s D.J. McCall.
Included in the Redskins’ run was a 109-72 win at Bishop Luers that secured the regular-season league title and set a school record for the most points in a single game.
Khaliq also credited the team buying into things that included 6 a.m. workouts during the week. They have just tried to be the best team they could be, said Khaliq, 60-26 in four years at the school. They have been able to be a success through each other and everybody has had a piece of the pie along the way.
It says a lot about our kids and the direction we are trying to go in our program with the type of kids we want in our program, just great kids.
The 24 wins are the most since the 1998-99 team went 21-4.