CHAMPAIGN — Danville coach Ted Houpt had a completely opposite feeling on Saturday night after his team's 59-56 loss to Champaign Centennial.
A night earlier, the second-year head man of the Viking program thought his team's loss to the Champaign Central Maroons hurt as much as any loss his team had suffered in his tenure.
And for the first 16 minutes on Saturday night, it looked like Danville was going through a repeat performance, but something changed at halftime.
The Vikings played one of their best halves of basketball this season, taking a 16-point second-half deficit down to the final outcome of 59-56 and Danville guard Kylen Butler's half-court shot at the buzzer was just off the mark.
"It helps when we knocked down 3-pointers and you can't count on that all of the time,'' Houpt said. "But, I think that good shooting came from some positive energy and a commitment to play with pride.
"It's energy. It's enthusiasm. That's the best energy that we've had and it's not a coincidence that the 3-pointers were going down. When you are catching and shooting in rhythm, it is a lot easier than trying to create something 1-on-1. If we run our offense and compete, we can be good.''
One of the biggest sparks for the Danville program came from guard Kemony Lester, who scored all 16 of his team-high points in the second half and the 5-foot-9 junior was a remarkable 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the second half.
"Our composure changed in the second half,'' Lester said. "We started believing in ourselves. We just didn't have enough energy coming into the game.
"That second half shows us that we can beat anyone on any given night when we played with energy.''