There's some frustration, but there's also plenty of hope and confidence.
And while Mundelein's boys basketball team was on the short end of a 50-38 decision to visiting Richmond-Burton on Tuesday night in the first round of the Martin Luther King Holiday Tournament, the Mustangs definitely have plenty to build on.
Especially when it comes that confidence question.
"We've had a couple of back-to-back losing seasons, but we have all of the pieces that we need to turn this thing around," said Mustangs junior center Jeff Bikus, who tied running mate Nick Parmley in team-high scoring honors with 11 points. "Our record doesn't reflect how well we have played at times. We just need to be more consistent with our ball handling. We moved it around well, especially in the third quarter. But credit Richmond-Burton. They played well."
With the game tied 14-14 with 3:10 left in the first half, the Rockets went on a 12-2 run to take a seemingly comfortable 26-16 lead into the locker room.
But Mundelein pulled it together quickly, outscoring Richmond-Burton 18-16 to draw to within 42-34 heading to the fourth stanza.
Bikus and Parmley each had 5 points in the third, while the defense held the Rockets scoreless until center Joey St. Pierre's layup at the 3:15 mark.
And Bikus, who stands 6-feet-6, had a tall task of guarding the bigger St. Pierre, who is 6-8.
"If I can guard that guy, I can guard anyone," said Bikus, who got pushed around a little but still held his own. "Guarding someone like him definitely makes you tougher. We need to keep working hard and the results will come."
St. Pierre popped in 12 points to complement teammate Blaine Bayer, who led all scorers with 13.
Forward Albert Castrejon's bucket just over a minute into the final period got the Mundelein faithful excited as the Mustangs drew within 42-38.
But that turned out to be the final points for Mundelein, which fell to 3-7 overall after starting the season 3-3.
St. Pierre had answered the run with a layup, and from there Bayer canned 6 of 8 free-throws down the stretch to preserve the victory for Richmond-Burton (4-5).