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Grayslake North fans dressed red part like Red Seas Vince Smith dressed as Moses runs up bleachers. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times

Grayslake North fans dressed in red part like the Red Sea as Vince Smith dressed as Moses runs up the bleachers. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media

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There still are four-plus months to go in this high school sports year. But it will take quite a picture to top this pair, which were taken at recent boys basketball games and are true gems. Above, is the always creative Grayslake North student-fan section on “Red Out” night at the school. What’s happening is that the “red sea” is parting so that “Moses”— AKA student Vince Smith — can makes his way up the bleachers. At left, is Lakes High’s student-fan section moments after Eagle Justin Bergeron made what turned out to be the game-winning basket in a dramatic win over North Chicago. What makes this great? When the bucket was made, there still were eight seconds to play in the game. Look at the kid in the Lakes jersey in the front row wearing No. 0. He’s totally focused on making sure no Eagles fans stormed the court prematurely to celebrate and possibly adversely affect the outcome. Give that kid an assist in the Lakes scorebook. And FYI, when the final eight seconds ticked off the clock, the high-octane Lakes fans did indeed storm the court to celebrate. | MICHAEL SCHMIDT~SUN -TIMES MEDIA PHOTOS

Updated: March 6, 2013 6:09AM

Points pondered while taking the money that was set aside to buy paint and instead using it to purchase several packages of peanut-butter Twix bars.

(The plan was to contribute a gallon of paint to use on the water tower in North Chicago that would be repainted next month to celebrate the Warhawks becoming the first Lake County team to ever win the IHSA state basketball championship. That dream died when five “iteam” members got themselves suspended last Friday, bringing to seven the number of “iteam” players who started the season on North Chicago’s roster and are now not on it.

Saw this on the back of a T-shirt a guy was wearing in an exercise place the other day:

“There is no I in T-E-A-M.”

Truer words have never been spoken regarding the local prep sports scene.

Before we get into North Chicago’s 22-2 boys basketball iteam, let’s step back a week and consider what happened to Waukegan High School’s cheerleading squad, which was disqualified from the IHSA sectional for using an academically ineligible player.

Forget about accidentally using the ineligible kid. Here’s what this inquiring mind wants to know:

The cheer season starts in June with camps and practices. Workouts are brutal and practices are tough as nails at every cheer program.

And the sport requires not just physical strength, but agility and mental toughness.

Other than ice hockey — a non-IHSA sport — it’s the longest season, and a physical and mental grind, all leading to sectional competition and qualifying for state.

So, after busting tail for seven months, and with the eyes finally on the prize, how on earth does a team member not stay academically eligible?

If you’re truly a team and not an iteam, don’t you make sure you’re eligible so as not to let your TEAMmates down? And where were the team captains making positively sure all were a go for the sectional.

That’s what a team is ... all for one and one for all. All taking care of one when needed and one taking care of all.

Being part of a true team means doing what you have to do to not let yourself down and more importantly, to not let your teammates down..And it also means teammates do whatever they can to help each other.

As for North Chicago’s iteam sq uandering a legit chance to become the first Lake County boys basketball team to win a state title:

The circumstances are different in that the seven players who started the season on the iteam and now are gone all were academically eligible to play.

The five who were suspended for their parts in a violation of school athletic policy last week and basically turned a state-title contender into a sectional-final loser were smart enough to pass their classes but not smart enough to realize that being part of a team is a privilege that comes with responsibilities.

There is no I in T-E-A-M.

We are guessing that what’s left of North Chicago’s squad now really is a true team.

Sadly, it’s going to be too late.

In December, while taping a sport-talk segment for a cable TV show, the guy writing these words said that Lakes’ basketball team was going to get North Chicago at least once this season.

But never in the wildest of dreams, did that prediction come from thinking that North Chicago was going to lose half the team it started the season with.

It came from thinking that Lakes was good. And now, darned if they’re not the better T-E-A-M.

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