Let's do the math.
When this school years ends, it will mark the conclusion of 31 years of covering high school basketball for me. There probably hasn't been a year I've watched fewer than 100 total games between high school boys and girls and junior college teams.
Several years, that total has reached 150 games.
Conservatively, that means I'm in the ball park of having covered 4,000 games.
I can't count how many times I've seen a team come out and totally dominate the early stages of a contest. The latest was Danville on Friday. The Vikings took a 9-0 lead at Mattoon at 5:40 mark of the first quarter and had forced six turnovers without allowing the Green Wave even one field goal attempt.
Around that time, Mattoon's boys' basketball head coach, Brooks Inman, called a timeout.
"Don't quit," he said to his team. "Don't ever quit."
Here's something I can count: How many times a team was totally dominated in the first 2:20 of a game and rallied to win.
It has happened once.
I saw it Friday night at Mattoon. There have been bigger comebacks, certainly, from a standpoint of the margin (which eventually reached 10 points), but not in terms of the early performance. Mattoon didn't get a shot off until 5:02 of the first period.
"The kids wanted to prove we could win," Inman said, "and came out too fired up."
You've heard the cliche about a game not being over until the final buzzer sounds. Mattoon's players believed it. The home team never led until the fourth quarter and its first one-point lead lasted 41 seconds.
When the game ended with Mattoon clinging to a 51-50 victory, the final tabulations showed the Green Wave led for a mere 2:36 out of the 32-minute contest.
Inman could coach a state championship team someday and not match the euphoria from his first home game as the Mattoon head coach. He will never forget the game. Neither will anyone who was in the gymnasium.
His team proved what fans will remember is not how you start a game, but how you finish it. The Green Wave were winners Friday night.