Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Plenty to prove over the holidays

POINT #1 .... There are two teams that I believe have the opportunity to step up over the holidays, turn some heads and grab a little mojo along the way -- T.F. North and Lincoln Park. In different ways these two teams have something to prove. They have both been taking baby steps over the past couple of years in preparation for these kind of moments.

POINT #2 .... Lincoln Park has, without question, the talent to play with anyone this side of Simeon, including quickness, depth, athleticism and a dynamic point guard in Juice Thompson. Coach Tom Livatino is the first to admit it's his responsibility to somehow get this group to play with a sense of urgency. And once the semifinals roll around at the Big Dipper, that sense of urgency better be there for a potential showdown with Thornton. A Big Dipper title could show this team just what it takes to play consistent basketball against elite teams and put them in a position to make a serious run in the second half of the season.

POINT #3 .... T.F. North, meanwhile, made a terrific move by getting into the Proviso West Holiday Tournament. This minefield of teams should prove to be the test T.F. North -- and avid prep basketball followers -- are looking for. This has been a program that's made tremendous strides over the past two-plus years. Coach Tim Bankston upgraded the schedule significantly and it's starting to pay off. However, for whatever reason this has been a team a lot of people, including myself to an extent, refuse to buy into. This is the proving ground, right here at Proviso West, to make a statement. This isn't to say the Meteors have to win the thing, but just make a strong showing against some of the state's elite in a high-profile event and venue. There isn't a team with more on the line in the first round of a holiday tournament than T.F. North. An upset loss to Glenbrook North in the 9 a.m. game on opening day could be damaging. Remember, this is a team that must compete at the highest level nearly every night out playing in the SICA East and being in a sectional with the likes of Thornwood, Washington and Thornton.

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