I’ve got to give credit where credit is due.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why heckling is no good for anyone.

The column was spurred by multiple displays of poor sportsmanship by area fans.

However, Friday night, when Tippecanoe Valley hosted Whitko in a high school boys basketball rivalry game, sportsmanship was shown all around.

Whitko led for most of the game, but Valley won on Parkur Dalrymple’s three-pointer with around five seconds to go.

Considering that it was a Three Rivers Conference game that had the place rocking, it wouldn’t have been difficult for fans to get out of control.

Respectfully, and admirably, that didn’t happen.

Sure, there were a few outcries regarding calls, but that’s expected. The jeers were few and far between, and were generally tamer.

No one that I heard made it personal. It was about the love for basketball and desire to win, and referees were not personally attacked.

That made me glad to see. I’m not saying I’ve never seen homer calls, but I do think most refs want to get it right.

As someone whose livelihood depends on accuracy, I empathize with officials’ predicament.

The stripes on Friday did a great job, and both coaches – Valley’s Chad Patrick and Whitko’s Eli Henson – were restrained in their demeanor even when they disagreed with a call.

“There were a couple questionable calls, but (the referees) had great explanations,” Patrick said. “They talked to you and whey they do that, there’s nothing you can say. You coach your team, you go on.”

I was particularly impressed with the students in the crowd. They chanted and were excited, but their words weren’t over the line. They were more focused on the success of their own teams than the struggles of the opposition.

And, of course, the players on both teams showed class. This was the case both during and after the game.

Whitko’s Spencer Sroufe – who finished with 23 points and 14 rebounds – and Valley’s Wes Melanson battled all game, but when they shook hands afterwards they embraced each other with grins.

It’s not that the loss didn’t sting for Whitko, nor that Valley wasn’t glad to beat a conference foe.

It’s that these student-athletes clearly demonstrated a maturity in knowing there are more important things in life than basketball.

One of those things is how you conduct yourself in the heat of the moment.

To Valley and Whitko, I say, bravo. You set an example for all to follow.