The next best thing is for a senior to go out fighting. South Putnam's Michael Sebanc did exactly that Wednesday evening.
With his team falling behind Tri-West in the second half, Sebanc scored 8 of his 13 points in the second half.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, as the Eagles fell to Bruins 57-49.
"Michael Sebanc is our only senior. I was proud of him tonight. He played one of the best games he's played all year," South Putnam coach Brian Gardner said. "I thought Mikey walked out with one of the greatest games he's played.
"He tried to single-handedly carry us through. As a senior, you can look back on that," he continued. "I'm just really proud of him that he showed up and said, 'I'm going to do everything I can.'"
For the first half, the Eagles (4-17) hung with the Bruins (9-12).
Cameron Chestnut came off the bench early and sparked the Eagles, scoring five first-quarter points to lead South to a 10-9 lead after a period.
In the second, the two teams traded the lead a number of times. A Nathan Welty three-pointer tied it up for South at 24 with about 45 seconds remaining.
However, Tri-West's Sam Groth put the Bruins ahead by two with a late tip-in.
In the second half, though, the Bruins, led by sophomore Randall Lowe, slowly took control in the second half.
"I thought in the second half, we got in a position where we lost Groth and Lowe. And Lowe hit some shots on us. It seemed like those were always possessions where they were almost backbreakers to us," Garnder said. "We would hit a shot and when we had a chance to make a play, we never did."
South's big problem after the break was its free throw shooting. The Eagles finished the night 7-of-18 from the line.
"When we got to the free throw line we didn't hit our free throws. When you get yourself in a position where you get to the line and you don't hit them, and then they go down and hit shots, it puts you behind the eight ball. I thought in the second half, especially, that showed," Gardner said.
Lowe finished the night with 32 points.
For South Putnam, Sebanc and Noah Boswell were co-leaders with 13 points each.
Sebanc is the Eagles' only senior, though, and Gardner is happy to see the rest of the squad returning.
"As the year went on we got closer and closer to being a better team. I thought this year we got in the position sometimes to win games, but we could never get over that hump," Gardner said. "I think they kind of understand now where they've gotta go."
"Our season for next year gets to start now," he said. "It's not a bad feeling as a coach when you know that 90 percent of your team is going to be back."
The Eagles finish the season 4-17.
At South Putnam
IHSAA Boys' Basketball Sectional
Tri-West 9 17 12 19 -- 57
South Putnam 10 14 11 14 -- 49
Tri-West (9-12) -- Lowe 12-20 7-9 32, Mcvicker 4-8 3-4 11, Groth 3-7 1-2 7, Smith 2-4 0-0 4, Pierle 1-4 0-0 2, Keck 0-0 1-3 1, Pfeifer 0-1 0-0 0, Skudrovskis 0-3 0-0 0. Totals: 22-46 FG, 12-18 FT, 57 points.
South Putnam (4-17) -- Sebanc 6-10 0-0 13, Boswell 4-12 4-6 13, Chestnut 2-6 3-6 8, Cash 2-4 0-3 6, Welty 2-6 0-0 5, Masters 1-1 0-0 2, Frame 0-4 2-3 2. Totals: 17-43 FG, 7-18 FT, 49 points.
3-pt FG--TW 1-10 (Lowe 1-4), SP 6-20 (Cash 2-4, Boswell 1-2, Sebanc 1-4, Chestnut 1-4, Welty 1-4). Turnovers--TW 11, SP 17. Total fouls--TW 17, SP 17. Fouled out--None.
Next game -- Tri-West will face Cascade at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the second semifinal of the South Putnam Sectional.