High School Sports

NORTH BOYS: Getting back to what works

North was one of the most exciting boys teams to watch last season. The Redskins played uptempo, often finishing fastbreaks with high-flying dunks.

Beautiful as the play often was, North finished 9-13. The Redskins had started the season 3-1 but lost seven of their next eight games. And coach Gary Squires knows exactly why.

"Early, we played as a team and we made the extra pass," said Squires, in his second season. "Then it became 'I have to get my shot, get my points.' I think we got a little selfish on the offensive end and didn't do a very good job rebounding."

North returns four starters — Spencer Robertson, Brison White, Briston White and Chekiel Wright — and adds freshman guard Conner Frankamp. The Redskins expect to push the tempo again and to try to climb into the elite of the City League. North was last there in 2002-03 when it finished 16-6.

"These kids definitely want to step up and make some noise," Squires said. "Nobody was expecting us last year, but I knew that we had a good team coming in. But they'll have to handle adversity."

Wright has a crucial role because he handles the ball 90 percent of the time — and Squires wants him to score more.

Scoring wasn't an issue for North last season —"I have four, five guys who can score double figures any night," Squires said — but North must improve its defense. It was seventh in the City League last season, giving up 63.6 points per game.

"We can score points real quick, but we can give up points real quick if we don't do the little things," Squires said. "The fundamental things, like boxing out and keeping the guy in front of you defensively."

North must also be able to pound the ball inside when teams try to slow the tempo. That's where Robertson, Jaime Carbajel and Dominic Farinas will come in. They have to be strong in the lane to open up that offense.