Sure, the Jamesville-DeWitt boys basketball team left Manley Field House Sunday night on the wrong end of an 81-75 decision with Niagara Falls in the featured game of the HoopHall Classic.
Yet the Red Rams also walked out with an increased amount of respect -- both the team for the way it battled a long-time state Class AA power to the wire, and its top player for the way he held up against a superstar two years his senior.
Brandon Triche picked quite a time to have one of the finest outings of his brief high school career. The sophomore accumulated 31 points, eight assists, six rebounds and three steals and had J-D within range of victory all the way to the end.
In doing so, Triche earned the full respect of Falls senior (and Syracuse University recruit) Johnny Flynn, the game's other main attraction.
"Brandon is a great player," said Flynn. "But I didn't know just how good he was until I played against him."
Of course, Flynn had his own star turn, getting 33 points, 16 of them in the fourth quarter to help the Wolverines come from behind.
Despite that, Triche said the Rams could take plenty of pride from the effort it put up against Niagara Falls, a state Class AA finalist each of the last two years.
"As a team, we played great," he said. "This type of loss can't bring us down."
Players or fans, no one at Manley was let down by this game, a tense, exciting and high-octane battle which featured 16 ties and 15 lead changes.
Falls made the first move, going up 16-11 after one quarter, but the Rams quickly turned it around as Triche and Alshwan Hymes (10 points each in the first half) helped J-D forge a 34-34 halftime tie.