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Even when baited, Northrop refuses to call tonight's boys basketball matchup with North Side a “revenge game."
Sure, the Redskins beat the Bruins in mid-December and surged past Northrop to win the SAC championship. But this is not about payback as the two teams meet for a berth in the Class 4A Sectional 5 semifinal.
“We learned from that loss, but we forgot about it,” Northrop senior Brenton Scott said. “We definitely want to get back at them, but it is more because we want to make a push in the postseason.”
There was plenty of intensity in the Dec. 14 game, a contest that North Side won, 65-59. The defeat was the Bruins' first of the season as the Redskins played aggressive defense on the Scott twins and forced other players to step up and beat them, which didn't happen.
In its victory over Carroll on Tuesday, Northrop showed good ball movement with all five players on the floor, a must against the Redskins.
North Side has excelled with its outside shooting during its current nine-game winning streak, particularly when teams go with a zone defense. Opponents have went zone to limit the Redskins using their quickness to get to the hoop, but it has backfired with North Side shooting a healthy percentage from behind the arc as of late.
But with quickness of their own, expect the Bruins to play man defense, forcing the Redskins to work harder to get open shots from the perimeter.
“We just want to come out and (play) our style,” North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “We want to play loose and relaxed like the way we have been playing and I think we will be OK.”
Northrop coach Barak Coolman said earlier this week he was glad his team did not receive the bye this week, instead wanting his team to get the first sectional contest out of the way.
Khaliq would not have minded playing earlier, but the weeklong layoff between games has kept North Side's preparation schedule the same. The Redskins have had at least six days between games each of the last four weeks.
“Obviously, we would rather play instead of have the bye … but the bye has kind of benefited our schedule,” Khaliq said. “We are in a similar pattern to what we have been in for the last month.”
The game could come down to the urgency that each squad plays with. A senior-laden team, Northrop knows that with its next loss many of its varsity players will end their high school careers.
The Redskins are led by a solid core of juniors who may not have the same urgency as the Bruins will have.
“We do discuss that because it is relevant,” Khaliq said. “But we do have seniors, so we have to have that sense of urgency for those guys who are a big part of our program.”
Tip is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Carroll High School. Game 2 will follow, an NHC clash between Columbia City (20-3) and DeKalb (16-7).