In sports they say we learn more about ourselves in defeat then we ever learn in victory.
Those words rang true for the Health Sciences boys’ basketball as a loss in the second game of the season taught them the value of working hard until the final buzzer.
The Falcons showed that hard work Thursday night.
Tysheen Lott scored 18 points as the Falcons beat the Marauders 57-53 in a wild non-league game that was played at St. Joe’s.
Improving to 3-1, the seeds of this victory were actually planted after a shocking loss to Nichols in the opening round of the Lewiston-Porter Tip-Off Tournament on Nov. 29.
“That’s what we take pride in. We try to work hard. We try to out work the other team,” Health Sciences coach Ty Parker said. “We lost to Nichols. We came out, we looked past them. We weren’t playing hard and we lost that game. So I think that was a learning experience for our guys. You always gotta play hard every game no matter who you’re playing.”
Parker explained that after graduating a sizable amount of players from last year’s veteran squad, this year’s team – thanks to Lott and fellow senior captain Kameron Briggs – is establishing its own identity with each passing day.
“I tell them hard work beats talent when talent ain’t working hard,” Parker said. “We don’t wanna walk on the court feelin’ like we’re the most talented team. We wanna feel like there’s equal parts. We know we gotta come to play every game because we know we’re gonna get everybody’s top game.”
Tied 10-10 at the end of the first quarter the two teams appeared to be evenly matched. But as the second quarter unfolded Health Sciences slowly pulled away. Thanks to Briggs who scored seven of his 16 points in the second frame.
Lott, the Falcons other captain and senior leader, took over in the second half. Lott drained 16 points – including a three pointer as the Falcons built what looked to be an insurmountable 52-38 lead.
More impressive than the points they were ringing up was the fact that the Falcons were just out hustling the Marauders at every turn.
“I feel like this game definitely helped us come together more as a team,” Tysheen Lott said. “I feel like the Nichols game, we all know each other, but we wasn’t playing as a team. We weren’t playing that hard. But that also woke us up and showed us that we had to play hard every game.”
Health Sciences was winning every loose ball as Joe’s contended with the frustration of missing open looks and their inability to make a key defensive stop when needed.
Funny thing though, the Marauders (0-2) never quit.
St. Joe’s slowly chipped away at the Falcons lead in the final two minutes. Pulling within three, 55-52, thanks to Justin Glover (9 points) who sank 3-of-3 from the line after Health Sciences was tagged with a technical foul with 43 seconds left to play.
Marauders coach Gabe Michael obviously wanted the “W.” But with a young team it’s a step-by-step journey. And Michael isn’t going to “skip-and-step” as he put it.
For now it’s the basics of learning how to compete before you learn how to win. The fact that the Marauders didn’t give up when trailing by as much as 15 points is a great sign of what this group is capable of.
“Absolutely. We’re learning as a team and I was really proud of how we battled,” he said. “We’re not setting record goals, our goal is improvement. I think we’ve improved from our last game. We just have to get better everyday. There’s a lot to work on still, but I think we showed a lot of heart and there was no quit. And I think that was really important for us.”
While the comeback says a lot about the Marauders’ heart it also speaks to the maturity of the Falcons who managed to keep their composure and not let the win slip away.
“At the end of games we know that every team is gonna still try fire back. Comeback and win the game,” Lott said. “But we just have to stick with it and play our type of basketball and come out with the win.”
Santino Martone led the Marauders with 19 points.
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