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Last updated: Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 - 05:04 am EDT

COLUMN

North Side is good, but not great...yet

Redskins have to refocus on postseason after superb regular season

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For more on high school basketball, follow Justin Kenny on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/jkenny_ns

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Before you get too far into this column, let me point out a few quick facts for the purpose of full disclosure.

North Side is the best team in the area this season, and it is not close.

Tre'Vion Crews is the most underrated player in the state.

I am a North Side Class of 2001 graduate.

OK, now that we have those three things out of the way, you can continue to read this knowing that I am indeed partial to my alma mater in certain things.

But that doesn't mean I am going to take it easy on them.

Friday's 88-79 victory over Homestead capped a magical regular season for the Redskins. It has been a year that has seen North Side capture SAC regular season and Holiday Tournament championships, rise to No. 4 in the state in Class 4A and ensure that this team will finish with the best winning percentage in the history of a program that dates back to 1927.

Yet, all that is now past.

Good teams dominate opponents and put together sensational regular seasons, while truly great teams win postseason championships.

What do the 2007 New England Patriots, 1980 Soviet hockey team and the 1973 Cincinnati Reds all have in common?

They were some of the best teams ever assembled in their respective sports, but did not win championships.

While we are just talking high school basketball, the same goes for good teams at this level. This year's North Side team is one of the most-talented squads in the history of the school, but it will not mean much without significant hardware in the postseason.

Redskins coach Shabaz Khaliq knows that and has explained it to his team.

“We won (the SAC) conference, we won the Holiday Tournament, but postseason success is how you're measured,” said Khaliq after Friday's victory.

One of the toughest things as a high school coach is getting teenagers to focus on the immediate future instead of basking in the recent past. North Side has heard it all season about how great they are, but the fact is they have not won anything of significance yet. Regular-season titles are nice, but postseason trophies are how great programs are measured.

If North Side (21-1) plays in the playoffs like it did in the third quarter on Friday, the Redskins should have a deep postseason run.

After coming out of halftime up 39-35, North Side exploded for 31 points in the third quarter, eventually expanding the lead to as many as 22 points in a short period of time while rarely missing from the field.

The Redskins shared the ball, got into the passing lanes defensively and make Homestead play to their tempo.

Homestead football coach Chad Zolman asked me entering the fourth quarter after the dominant eight minutes, “Is that normal?”

The answer is yes, it is normal for the Redskins to perform like that, but it is still too infrequent to guarantee significant playoff success.

This season's North Side squad begins its quest to be labeled one of the best teams in school history next Tuesday night against rival Snider. Nothing up to this point matters now.

Khaliq let his team know that Friday night. In the post-game locker room he wrote '21-1' on the dry erase board, then wiped it away and replaced it with '0-0'.

“We know our (team picture) is on the wall (at North Side), what is the lettering going to be (underneath)?” Khaliq said. “Last year it was just SAC champs. This year it is undecided yet.

“We can't go out and have the type of season we have had and have a limited postseason.”

Yesterday is over. Can the Redskins continue the magic through March?

Stay tuned.

BOX SCORE

NORTH SIDE 88, HOMESTEAD 79

North Side*18*21*31*18*88

Homestead*21*14*16*28*79

North Side: Mitchell 7, McGee 16, Davis 30, Jones 13, Terrell Crews 2, Sutton 7, Tre'Vion Crews 13.

Homestead: Ault 14, Cotter 6, Skowronek 6, Curry 9, Swanigan 36, Batt 8.

Rebounds: N/Tre'Vion Crews 6; H/Swanigan 11

Assists: N/Tre'Vion Crews 15, Skowronek 3.

jkenny@news-sentinel.com


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