The Region 14 play in-game against Waterford didn't go Rowland Hall's way.
The Winged Lions boys' basketball team was eight minutes away from entering the Class 2A state tournament for the first time in five years when it fell cold.
Chris Nkoy willed every shot, but they kept coming up short. The 10-point deficit the Winged Lions overcame in the first three quarters slipped away.
It was a tough loss but not crushing.
For Nkoy, it is yet another learning experience to serve as motivation to always improve. From the hard court to the classroom, Nkoy treats the defeats as opportunities to pull up both himself and his teammates and answer the next challenge.
"There is always something you can take away from every game," he said. "Try and improve and not make the same mistakes."
The junior captain said it is the time away from the game that makes the best teams. He considers the offseason vital for players to develop and make an impact for his squad.
"The best teams worked very hard in the offseason to be where they are now," Nkoy said. "It was rough losing. We'll just have to work harder to go further next year."
The 5-foot-11 guard is soft spoken but harbors a confidence that's made him a top scorer for Rowland Hall. He finished the year with 177 points, but he preferred to focus on distributing the ball for his teammates, Wes Austin and Chris Diehl. Because the Winged Lions are undersized, Nkoy believes that future success will come by utilizing everyone on the court to their full potential.
"It's definitely finesse for us," Nkoy said. "We focus on execution and getting the ball to the right guy at the right time. We have all of the right pieces. We just need to use them better."
Rowland Hall finished the season 3-7.
"They cut their teeth pretty good this year and took some lumps, but they never gave up," Rowland Hall coach Aaron Hinton said. "These guys are real tight on and off the court, and it shows when they play."