It's been at least three years since the Mundelein boys basketball team won a North Suburban Conference game.
Senior guard Tommy Marcotte was a freshman on varsity three years ago. He's been around for that entire unenviable streak.
"It was very hard," Marcotte said of the three straight winless seasons in conference play and less than 10 total wins in each of those seasons. "Everyone on the team was always down on themselves.
"We used to go into games thinking we were going to lose by 30 because we had no reason to believe anything else. Now, we've got some confidence."
That's because Mundelein is now 2-0 to start the new 2017-18 season, with its second win on Tuesday coming not in a conference game, but against a conference team.
On the second day of their own Thanksgiving tournament, the host Mustangs, led by first-year coach Matt Badgley, defeated North Suburban Conference power Warren, 70-52.
"I don't know if I've ever beaten Warren in my whole life," Marcotte said. "Feeder, high school, nothing. It's so nice to get a win."
So how did the underdog Mustangs do it?
For starters, hunger.
Marcotte, who finished with 17 points, including 3 three-pointers, is surrounded by many players who have been on varsity for at least the last two years. They had been through many of the losses too, and were just as tired of the rough ride.
"I think losing all those games made us want it even more," Marcotte said. "All those losses made us better because we just want it more than anyone else."
Mundelein, which got a game-high 21 points from 6-foot-8 senior center Andrew Silva, was up 27-21 at halftime. The Mustangs extended their lead to 10 points by the end of the third quarter by shooting the ball well, hitting 4 three-pointers in the quarter. They were also tough defensively, forcing Warren into some bad shots as well as 5 turnovers in the quarter.
"With their new coach, he focuses on defense a lot and you could tell from past years they've really switched up their schemes," said Warren senior guard Branden Ellis, who has gotten many wins over Mundelein over his three years on varsity. "Our shot selection wasn't very good and we had a lot of empty possessions.
"I'm a little surprised by the result here, but I wouldn't say I'm stunned. I've played AAU with a lot of guys from Mundelein. I knew they had some talented players, and I knew that a lot of them have been playing together for three or four years now. They have good chemistry and are experienced now."
Ellis led Warren with 16 points.
David Catanus and Barak Diehl also finished in double-figures for the Blue Devils with 12 and 10 points respectively.
"I think the biggest difference with Mundelein is defensively. They've always been able to score," Warren coach Jon Jasnoch said. "They rush the ball now, they get in passing lanes, they helped. They did a great job. And they shot the ball really well too.
"And then there's a great hunger to win. They've definitely got that."
The past is certainly fueling the Mustangs, but Badgley also wanted to make it clear that just as he was beginning with a new slate as a first-year head coach, so were the players.
"This is a very big win and it's good for our program and our kids," Badgley said. "None of our kids have ever seen us beat a conference team since they've been in high school. We definitely recognize the history there.
"But the main thing we wanted to do was start fresh with these kids and wipe the slate and start at ground level. We kind of liked coming in and not knowing anything about any of them and they were starting with a clean slate to earn their spot. They've really had to earn everything and that's made them work really hard and play really hard."
James Willman and Jeff Bikus also finished in double-figures for Mundelein. They each added 11 points.