SHOOTER: North Side’s win over Blackhawk Christian shows there is some ‘big time’ left for the Legends
No, this isn’t a “I take it back” column.
I’m not going to do it. I simply will not.
But remember that last column I wrote about North Side? Well how about the more things change, the more they stay the same?
Big-time teams show up for big-time games. Class 4A No. 2 North Side did it last year and it looks like they are capable of that again. No more evident was that than Tuesday night’s 67-41 Legends win over Blackhawk Christian, the fourth-ranked team in Class A.
Maybe it was billed as something bigger than it really was. Maybe the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in the area is really 26 points wide. Or maybe North Side just knows how to play big at the right times. How easily we forget that it did just that through the entire postseason last year up until the state championship game. Because Tuesday night, North Side did what North Side does.
To not give them credit for that, or to say that Blackhawk Christian just had an off night or didn’t shoot the ball well, takes away from the fire and the passion that the Legends played with. Because, for the first time in a long time, people doubted North Side. They doubted its ability to finish strong. They doubted its ability to win a big game against a big opponent. Blackhawk Christian is a big opponent. They are going to make some waves in the city this year and they are going to do well in Class 1A.
Shooter stands by the fact that Tuesday night’s game was between the two top teams in this area.
When both teams came out aggressive, it turned out that one team was mostly bravado and the other was substance. From the opening tip, North Side senior Brandan Johnson set the tempo on the court physically and mentally with the way he played. Oh how easily we forget that he has been here and done all this before. When Keion Brooks missed eight minutes, most of the first quarter, after a collision with teammate Austin Boucher, Johnson put the team on his shoulders and charged forward. He muscled the ball straight from the hands of Blackhawk rebounders and was downright problematic.
Big-time players make big-time plays.
Brooks answered that call, because he was on another level against the Braves, scoring 21 points with 13 rebounds despite missing, as previously noted, half of the first 16 minutes. Brooks is a star, nobody debates that and nobody will whether North Side wins or loses, makes it back to state or falls short. He has a role, it is pivotal. He dialed that up to 11 on Tuesday night simply to make a point — No, the Legends are not the underdog. No, the Legends should not be predicted to lose games in the area until someone proves otherwise.
But on every big-time team, in Shooter’s estimation, you have the fire starter and you have the star and you have to have the glue guy; that guy that just holds it all together in place nice and tidy.
Bonus: the Legends had four of them, by my estimation, against Blackhawk Christian.
The defense of Blackhawk Christian’s Jalan Mull was just about all that Austin Boucher needed to really start doing some Austin Bouchery things. I don’t think that there’s much surprise in the fact that Lucas Kroft’s grit and determination in proving a point of his own against his former school was a turning point in the game.
And then there was the spark of overwhelmingly unheralded Nate Carbaugh and Jordan Moore. Off the bench, the two of them combined to help keep leading Braves scorer Frankie Davidson on lock. The kid who hit seven threes a week ago didn’t score until late in the third quarter. Davidson was 0-of-6 in the first half to go with Mull’s opening half 1-of-7 shooting. Sure, the basketball gods just weren’t on Davidson or Mull’s side when it came to shots falling. But neither were Moore or Carbaugh or the rest of the Legends. Because again, to not give them credit, is’s just plain rude.
The moral of the story is this: North Side did not look anything like the team that scrimmaged Heritage and barely even resembled the team that struggled against Indianapolis Tech last Saturday. What they look like was a big-time team showing out for a big-time game.
Here’s the tricky part: doing that for DeKalb on Friday and Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday and South Side next week and the Romeo Show with New Albany the following day. Big-time teams show up for big-time games. But great teams never stop out working themselves.
And as for that rumored four points that Shooter may have picked the Braves to win by? Someone tell North Side assistant coach Ty Winn that I owe him one.
For more prep hoops, follow Shooter on Twitter at shooter_ns