Maybe North Side should play every game as an underdog. Or maybe it just likes having the spotlight shown on it with the chance to play spoiler.
How else to explain what it has done in the Summit Athletic Conference this season?
North Side (6-5, 2-2 SAC) once again gave a team its only conference loss of the year as it defeated Concordia 66-58 at the Cage Friday night.
The victory comes after handing Northrop its only conference loss on Dec. 14, and makes the Redskins one of two losses for both Concordia and the Bruins on the entire season. But North Side also has two conference losses against Wayne and Snider to go with its big wins.
“You know, we play well against guys that bring it out against us, like Northrop and Concordia, obviously, but there have been other opponents on our schedule where we just show up and we don't give the effort and don't play as a team and don't bring the energy,” North Side head coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “We're a talented club, but we're a lazy ball club, and when we find it within ourselves to give this type of effort on a consistent basis, we'll see consistent success.”
If North Side can manage to play the team-oriented game it did against the Cadets, it shouldn't struggle to turn the corner and continue to beat not only the top teams in the area.
The Redskins nearly had four players in double figures Friday night. Trevion Crews 18 points and five rebounds led the team, but it also had Sean McGee and Dwight Richards score 14 points each. Mike Davis chipped in with nine points as well.
“I always tell our kids we're two extra passes away every possession from being a great team, and sometimes we don't make that extra pass,” Khaliq said. “More times than not tonight, we did, and other games, more times than not we didn't, and you see the difference in the results.”
As the Redskins had multiple players contributing, Concordia had to rely heavily on only two guys to carry its scoring load.
D.J. McCall and Brian Gremaux scored all but eight of Concordia's points in the game as each finished with 25. Gremaux also contributed 17 rebounds in the contest to help keep Concordia close.
The two were the only players to score for Concordia until the 5:05 mark of the third quarter, when Ryan Gross made a free throw. It wouldn't be until the 1:07 mark in the third when Concordia would get a field goal from Gross, the first shot made by someone other than McCall or Gremaux. In total, only four Concordia players would score in the contest.
“We were one of 23 from three, that was a big problem for us,” Concordia head coach Josh Eggold said. “Brian really established inside, and then they could collapse down on him later in the game. We have to be able to loosen that up with some outside shooting that we just didn't make tonight.”
The loss for Concordia (11-2, 3-1) leaves no one undefeated in the SAC.
Concordia still has to play Northrop and Wayne in the coming weeks, so it isn't out of the conference race.
“It's a good conference; it's a conference that is going to prove itself out to be that a lot of people can beat you on any night,” Eggold said. “You know, we are still in control of our situation with one loss, but yea, it's going to take an excellent effort.”
NORTH SIDE 66, CONCORDIA LUTHERAN 58
North Side 14 13 18 21 — 66
Concordia 10 15 13 20 — 58
North Side: Mitchell 4, McGee 12, Davis 11, J. Jones 5, Richards 14, N. Jones 4, Crews 16.
Concordia: McCall 25, Gross 6, Starks 2, Gremaux 25, Harris 0.