The North Side boys basketball team is so young that heartbreaking losses could have ruined their season.
But they haven’t, thanks in part to the senior leadership of Andy Bachman and Quilyn Howard-Upshaw.
The Redskins (8-6, 2-3 SAC) have lost four games by four points or fewer, including two on buzzer-beaters against the SAC’s top two teams – 66-64 at Northrop and 76-75 to Bishop Luers in the conference tournament.
The Bruins won as Carter Rump’s layup completed a full-court, less-than-a-second-left drive. Knights star Jaylon Smith’s shot was the difference in the second game.
There’s also a 56-55 loss to Concordia and a 60-56 loss to Wayne. North Side is staying upbeat because of the abilities and guidance of Bachman and Howard-Upshaw.
They are seniors who are forced to lead because we have a bunch of underclassmen who are playing a lot of minutes, North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said.
They know that if they don’t embrace it, they won’t have the kind of season they want to have as seniors. Each situation we have been in is a learning opportunity to analyze what went wrong in those games. They are still confident, and they understand they let those games slip away. It hasn’t brought down our demeanor.
Bachman, a 6-foot-5 sharp-shooting forward, is the team’s leading rebounder (7.0) and second-leading scorer (17.3).
Howard-Upshaw, a 6-2 slashing guard, leads the team in points (18.3) and steals (1.8).
They complement each other because they are two different styles of player, Khaliq said.
I don’t think they are conflicting when they are on the court together. They have had to rely on each other off the floor, both in the locker room and in the hallways and help monitor the team, so they are doing what they are supposed to be doing.
The Redskins have five sophomores and a freshman.
It’s just staying together and keeping it as a team perspective, Howard-Upshaw said of dealing with the tough losses. We keep the pros and cons, and not let the cons take us in a bad way.
Friends on and off the court, they’ve developed chemistry from playing together on the varsity team for three years.
Quilyn and I play real well together because we both can score and just make each other better, Bachman said.
We get on each other when one of us is not playing hard and feed off each other’s energy.
Geography keeps the pair from being even closer.
Quilyn and I hang out sometimes off the court, Bachman said. But it’s hard to because he lives kind of far from me.
The two could continue playing together in college, as schools have contacted both of them to be a package deal.
We have talked about that, but we are just waiting until after the season to see what happens, Bachman said.