As they walked out of the Pit late Saturday night through different doors on different paths to their cars, Quincy High School boys basketball coach Andy Douglas and Quincy Notre Dame skipper Kevin Meyer shared similar hopes.
The lessons learned Saturday night have some carryover.
The Blue Devils built a 20-point first-half advantage, withstood the Raiders second-half rally and headed into the Christmas break with a 55-50 victory at the Pit to maintain control of the city series. But the moxie the Blue Devils showed in holding in and the resiliency the Raiders showed in fighting back doesn't mean much unless it's duplicated.
Both teams have to play with as much character after Christmas as they did before the holiday.
"It doesn't mean anything for tonight if it doesn't carry over to next Thursday and going forward," said Meyer, whose team will tip off in the small-school boys bracket of the State Farm Holiday Classic against Peoria Christian at 12:30 p.m. Thursday. "There were some good things, but their only good if you gain something from them."
Both teams say they gained confidence, but more than that is needed.
They need stability, something the Blue Devils (7-2) believe back-to-back victories gives them.
"It's showing that day-by-day, practice-by-practice and game-by-game we're growing as one," QHS senior point guard Lucas Reis said as the Blue Devils turn their focus to the Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic and a first-round matchup with Madison at 8 p.m. Friday. "We're growing together. That's what we always want.
"Win, lose or tie, we want to constantly improve and constantly grow together as a family."
The Raiders experienced growth in a different way. They witnessed what it takes to be consistent, despite losing two of the three games played in a five-day span this week.
"We need to play more consistent," QND junior forward Jack Marth said. "We played the first half against Palmyra and didn't play the second half. We didn't play the first half here, but we played much better in the second half. It's something we have to build from."
It's a sign the Raiders believe in each other and themselves.
"We knew we had the capability of coming back," Marth said. "It was just the belief Coach Meyer instilled in us. He got on us at halftime, and it fired us up and we were ready to go in the second half."
That came as no surprise to the QHS coaching staff, regardless of the 33-13 halftime lead.
"There were a lot of people all across town who thought it was going to be a blowout," QHS coach Andy Douglas said. "Not one of the coaches thought that. We knew they were going to play us tough. There were things we did or didn't do in the third quarter that really hurt us, but we found a way."
The Blue Devils found a way to improve. They found a way to survive. They found a way to thrive.
"That brings us closer together," QHS sophomore forward Jeremiah Talton said.
Much like the having to pick each other up will bring the Raiders together.
"They won't let each other down," Meyer said. "You can see that. They're going to be there for each other."
Programs which act that way should this basketball-loving community proud.