Closing the door on the winter season

TRAVIS DAVID

Sports editor

There's an old adage, "you are not defeated when you lose, you are defeated when you quit."

Applying this theory, the Princeton Community boys basketball team did not suffer a defeat Saturday night inside Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium.

The Tigers gave a champion-like effort in the Southridge Regional Championship game and gave Silver Creek several scares throughout the contest.

Princeton never had a lead in the contest.

The Tigers trailed by nine points at halftime and fell behind by 11 points with six minutes left in the game.

Silver Creek was knocking down shots, tough contested shots at that.

Silver Creek was coming up with all of the 50/50 balls.

Silver Creek was applying suffocating defense which caused the Tigers problems.

But with just over two minutes left in the game, Princeton found itself down just three points.

If this game would have happened earlier in the season, the Tigers would have been out of the contest long before the final horn sounded.

Over the last month of the season the Tigers found a toughness among themselves.

That toughness, which allowed them to have a short memory Saturday morning after Batesville erased a 7-point deficit in the final two minutes to force overtime, allowed them to keep swinging against a very talented Silver Creek team.

With the Dragons having an answer for everything Princeton threw at them, it would have been easy for the Tigers to just pack it in.

But that was not in the DNA of this rejuvenated Tigers team.

They were champions of the Toyota Classic, tri-champions of the Big Eight Conference, sectional champions and a regional finalist for the first time since the undefeated and state championship team of 2009.

That's a helluva season for any team.

Add in the fact the core group did not experience a winning season until their junior season, the team had come a long way over the years.

It would have been easy for them to settle on just being a part of the regional championship game.

But not this team.

They left everything they had out on the court.

They gave the Tigers faithful something to be proud of.

They also earned the respect of the Silver Creek basketball team.

"That is a good ball team over there," Dragons coach Brandon Hoffman said. "They just kept throwing haymakers at us."

Silver Creek senior Ty Kessinger told Evansville Courier & Press sports reporter Gordon Engelhardt he was impressed with the effort his team received from the Tigers.

"They just kept on hitting you in the mouth," the Dragon senior said of the Tigers' fight. "They just kept coming out of nowhere. We were thinking, 'what is going on?'"

I was not around in the first half of the season when the

see season/page b2

Tigers were still searching for an identity.

But it was an absolute pleasure being around THIS Princeton team during its postseason run.

Thanks for the ride and helping make my first two months on the job a blast.

Let's do this again in the spring and maybe take it a step or two further!

Travis David is the Daily Clarion Sports Editor. He can be reached at 812-220-4843 or sports@pdclarion.com. Follow him on Twitter @PDCprepsports and @Tdavid_21.

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