Last Friday at the end of the Northern Lakes Conference boys’ basketball opener between Warsaw and Wawasee, I had a chance to see something I don’t usually pick up sitting in one of the media’s mezzanine spots in the Tiger Den, but I was treated to a different view at the scorer’s table.

With seconds to play, trailing 59-41, the Tigers worked another shot under the basket to close the game 61-41. Judah Simfukwe had a beautiful inside move at the buzzer. Coach Everingham gave Tiger head coach Matt Moore and the Tigers a glare hot enough to burn a laser hole through them.

The moment could be construed any way you want out of context. Everingham’s Warriors, however, set up a press during those last few seconds. In the proper context, the Warriors were going to defend tightly to the buzzer, so the Tigers reciprocated with aggressive play, and scored.

There are no points scored for/against used as a conference title tiebreaker in the NLC, so the final basket was not about assuring an additional score for this reason. I don’t believe the Tigers were running up the score, either.

I did a double-take when I witnessed Everingham’s reaction. Should one side, even with an 18-point advantage, play dead while the other presses?

It’s on… as far as I’m concerned. Coach Moore and the Tigers didn’t deserve the glare.

There is one sport, one of my favorite sports in fact, where playing full measure to the final horn is part of the sport’s etiquette: rugby.

Teams in rugby are known as sides. If a side winning by a large margin pulls back the reins on its athletes, the gesture is an insult to the trailing side regardless of the lead’s size. It’s a brutal sport on the pitch, however, I’ve witnessed the most consistent levels of proper bearing on the pitch toward the officials, and between the combatting teams fans won’t see in most other sports.

There is, additionally, a postgame social event after each match, too. Rugby players share the same space to snack and hydrate at the youth, scholastic, and collegiate levels. Sometimes the alcohol flows among adult club and pro levels.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if this social postgame gathering were part of high school basketball, especially the way last Friday’s game ended. I view Warsaw’s choice to score aggressively last Friday as a show of respect toward Wawasee’s effort to run a pressure defense, full measure, to the end.

This is a great time of year for consumers of televised football and basketball at collegiate and professional levels. It’s even better if viewers have time off during the week in addition to the holiday dates. Certain college bowl games don’t offer a marquee matchup, but they turn out to be good ball games, nonetheless.

Some college bowl games are interesting for a few reasons. Sometimes the teams’ best players have opted out of participating to prepare and preserve themselves for the NFL draft in April. Some teams use the additional time between the regular season finale and the bowl game to retool for the following season. Viewers might see a change in quarterback, or new wrinkles in a team’s offensive and defensive strategies.

If you don’t already know why there are so many bowl games now (44 to be exact, including the three used to determine the champion), it’s not a “trophy kid thing” like getting a piece of participation hardware. Sometimes the bowl game invitees incur greater costs than the bowl’s payout to the teams and their respective conferences due to logistics and accommodations for the time spent at these events.

The payoff, for 84 of the 88 participating teams, is additional authorized full measure practices. This is a college coach’s gold. The time to continue working on program building and strategy is gold due to NCAA weekly hours of practice restrictions. So, if you’re not invited to a bowl game, your season is over in terms of formal practices; done until spring practice.

Each year, recently, I’ve celebrated Christmas Eve watching “Elf” and “Home Alone” at my sister’s house followed by a delicious dinner, and a hearty, competitive game of left-center-right (have lots of dollar bills ready). I usually look forward to decompressing on Christmas Day in my own home. My kids, even when they were little, didn’t wake me up at 5 a.m. clamoring to open presents. They would wake up naturally, check what Santa and his reindeer consumed among the treats we left them, eat a breakfast around 11-ish, then open presents. I have been fortunate over the years to avoid sleep deprivation on Christmas mornings even when I needed to wrap gifts into the wee hours of darkness.

Have a safe, happy, blessed Christmas and Kwanza. Look for next week’s column in the Dec 31 edition.