Scott Radeker sat in the hallway outside Lafayette Jeff’s locker room, hands on his head.
Losing is frustrating.
Executing a masterpiece of a defensive game plan and falling to a 10-3 Valparaiso team 40-34 in overtime is encouraging, though.
“This weekend was a tough weekend, to go up to Muncie (Central) and get a win in overtime and then come back here and battle and get back in the game,” Radeker said. “If they just stay the course, we are going to be in good shape. We’ve competed with everybody we’ve played.”
After the tough loss at Crawley Center, Radeker was beaming with pride when he referenced why the Bronchos have been in almost every game on the schedule.
It doesn’t have to do with stats on the box score, but rather the things that coaches hope for: hard work, competitiveness, effort and unselfishness among them.
On Saturday, Lafayette Jeff dropped to 4-6 on the season. Half of their games have gone into overtime this season. Another was won at the buzzer and two more were lost in the final seconds, making for eight of 10 games that could have been won or lost in the final possession of the fourth quarter.
“Our team, we just like to battle and battle,” senior Sam Collins said. “We don’t like to be down. I don’t think any team does. But when you have Jeff on your shirt, you want to take pride in what happened in the past (with successful teams) and make sure the future is the same as the past.”
With 6-foot-5 Keaton Schreckengast representing the only height in the Jeff lineup and against a Vikings team with three starters at least 6-3 and another at 6-1, Jeff was able to keep the ball out of the paint in taking an 8-2 lead after the first quarter and going into halftime tied at 11.
When Schreckengast picked up his fourth foul just 1:40 into the second half, Valparaiso was able to exploint the Bronchos’ lack of a big man with 6-7 Conner TenHove, 6-3 Drew Paul and 6-3 Jay Bisacky combining for all four third-quarter field goals. TenHove and Paul combined for 27 points.
Trailing 28-24 in the final minute, the Bronchos forced overtime on the back of sharpshooting sophomore Jalen Williams. Darian Collins and Dan Ricksy each found Williams getting loose beyond the arc for 3-pointers 21 seconds apart.
Williams’ 3 in overtime was Jeff’s lone field goal in the extra session as the Vikings built their largest lead at nine points.
Williams finished with 10 points. David Hanyard led the Bronchos with 11.
“It’s not about the winning or losing,” Collins said. “Come March is when it really matters, but before March is when we get better for the sectional.”