FORT WAYNE – Stepping up in key games helped lead North Side to its first SAC boys basketball title in seven years.
The biggest thing was the perseverance that we showed, North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. Once things didn’t go our way early on, to stick with it and still pull it off was big for those guys, especially considering we have a lot of underclassmen. It showed maturity on their part.
Dwight Richards and Trevion Crews represented the Redskins on the All-SAC first team, announced Monday after voting by the league’s coaches.
North Side tied with Concordia and Northrop with 5-2 records in the league, but won the title on the head-to-head tiebreaker by beating the Cadets and Bruins in regular-season play.
Those are games that kids are going to get up for, Khaliq said. Those are two games that you obviously mark on your calendar when it comes to the SAC because those were the two teams that were favored to win the conference. Without a doubt, our kids came out motivated to win those two, and thankfully for us, we were able to get those two.
Despite a loss in a rematch against the Bruins in the Carroll Sectional semifinals last week, Khaliq said the SAC title shows the program is headed in the right direction.
It hopefully says a lot about our program, and the direction we are trying to go, Khaliq said. We didn’t win it at 7-0 or 6-1. We won it at 5-2. You are playing good teams each night, and you have to be ready to go.
Also placing two players on the All-SAC first team were Concordia (D.J. McCall and Marq Rogers), Northrop (Bryson and Brenton Scott) and Snider (Leander Williams and Stephen Halstead). Rounding out the first team were Bishop Luers’ James Blackmon Jr., Wayne’s Justin Mitchell, South Side’s Domonique Gleason and Bishop Dwenger’s Grady Eifert.
The SAC has shown recently that it might be as talent-laden as it ever has with Bryson Scott (Purdue), Brenton Scott (Indiana State) and James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana) among the high-profile NCAA Division I recruits from the conference.
And three league teams – Northrop (4A), Concordia (3A) and Bishop Luers (2A) will represent the SAC in the regional after capturing sectional titles Saturday.
It tells me that we have a strong conference, Khaliq said. A lot of the teams in our conference have great individual players, and they make their teams better.