This week’s launch of postseason basketball reminded me of the Schoolhouse Rock animated clip, “Interjections!” The very end of the clip, specifically, already hit me after Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday night’s action.

“Interjections!” ends with a blank background where a little boy laments, “Darn! That’s the end.”

The kid nailed it, but rather than leave it there as my Saturday morning salvo, I’m permitted 700-1300 words of copy.

Unlike Class 5A and 6A football where a bye week provides a delay to the possibility of a one-and-done sense of urgency your favorite football team faces, Indiana high school basketball takes you from Friday’s final regular season game to an opening round sectional clash the following Tuesday.

As my kids would say when they were pre-adolescents, “Four more sleeps, Dad.”

If you’re a fan of Tippecanoe Valley or Warsaw basketball, it’s tempting to map out – based on the lead up to sectional week – driving, dining, and cheering plans through Saturday because these teams’ postseason journeys include quarterfinal and semifinal opponents (both in Warsaw’s case) whom they previously defeated.

Valley, in particular, a game I covered Tuesday night, enjoyed a big regular season victory down the homestretch against Warsaw before fighting hard and losing close to Mishawaka Marian and appeared poised to run their Knox sectional table.

All the tournament teams, however, are comprised of boys – highly motivated and well-intentioned of course, but not completely predictable - aged 15 through 18 years old, so I reference the cliché, “that’s why they play ‘em.”

The Tigers and the Vikings each experienced similar season-ending results due to a main factor demonstrated on-court by their then-versus-now pregame underdog opponents: vastly improved defensive play.

I saw John Glenn’s physical defensive play bolstered by a good transition game and how it was the essential ingredient to beating a team like Valley with very functional, athletic size, usually solid mid-range and three-point shooting, and solid ball handling.

They were the Times-Union area’s best boys’ basketball team based on head-to-head results among area opponents.

The fact most of the Falcons’ Northern Indiana Conference opponents - South Bend schools, and state ranked foes Marian and Penn – followed their December 10 loss to Valley, the rigors of conference play apparently were a favorable transformation for John Glenn.

The result was Valley, a team who relied heavily on veteran talent, was sent home in the opening round in a sectional field where the trophy placard makers might have been compelled a time or two to rev up the engraving tools to write “Tippecanoe Valley” on the metal placard.

I did not see the Warsaw game, but I learned something about recent trends for the Northridge Raiders through reading game articles, and through discussion with other area media members. The Raiders, who have been offensively inconsistent since December, seemed to be their strongest recently while employing a stifling zone defense.

This is exactly what Connor McCann reported in Wednesday’s game coverage article.

Each team’s opening round loss was understandably a disappointment to themselves and to their respective fan bases, but they neither loss was a shock to me.

The Vikings’ woes looked similar to something they suffered in their season opening loss to Mishawaka, another athletic team who plays physical defense. I was in the Cave for the contest, and despite the Vikings’ loss, the regular season looked like it would include success for the remainder of the regular season.

The Warsaw Tigers have had streaks of brilliance, streaks of challenges, and their season was affected by injuries, and the unavailability of some key players. They defeated a handful of superior opponents, and lost some games they probably should have won.

Recent seasons’ adjustments in Warsaw’s strength of schedule make each game worth its price of admission.

15 regular season wins this with this year’s schedule suited me.

Those who played the next-man-up role for the Tigers earned meaningful minutes, experience for next season’s rigorous schedule. Warsaw head basketball coach Matt Moore implicitly and explicitly remarked throughout the season that older isn’t necessarily better. The Tiger cagers preparing from now until the opening tip of the 2023-2024 season were levied the challenge to get better, not just to be older.

All I am able to do, because I did not spend much time near the program this season, is surmise individual preparation during time away from practice has already been a challenge Moore has levied upon next season’s returnees in addition to similar discussions he had with these gentlemen in the recently completed campaign.

In fact, in one post game article following a regular season loss, he was quoted as asking his athletes – and I’ll paraphrase – “Who spent time away from practice shooting the basketball?”

“And so it goes” as the Tralfamadorians continually said in famous Hoosier Kurt Vonnegut’s novel “Slaughterhouse 5.”

Yes, I did a rerun in my column of the allusion to the fictional oddly-formed aliens, each with a single-armed, single-hand as a complete body frame with an eye in its palm.

“And so it goes” was their way of stating that life begins and ends, but you actually continually re-live it in tranches not necessarily placed in their chronological order.

Back on the rails.

Basketball fans’ and athletes’ respective human and playing career lives are finite, but athletic programs resuscitate immediately at the beginning of each off-season.

The Vikings and the Tigers – each saying goodbye to some very dearly-enjoyed special senior athletes - will return for next year’s campaigns with experience and talent who will, without fail, get older at the very least.

However, the excitement for next season lay in seeing the answer in the form of on-court results to the question, will they get better?

In the meantime, most of the area will spend this morning and possibly this coming week smarting from postseason losses and the consequential exits from field of this season’s IHSAA “Hoosier Hysteria” tournament.

Best wishes toward the Times-Union area teams’ 2023-2024 boys’ basketball campaigns among those of you who will not be in uniform a week from today.

Now… take us out, Schoolhouse Rock cartoon kid.

“Darn! That’s the end.”