Sometimes, you have to travel through some valleys in order to reach the peaks.
For Daniel Malouhos and Boone Grove's senior class, the Class 2A sectional title is the pinnacle of an often trying three-year process that began with a one-win season in 2010-11.
"Winning the sectional was the best feeling of my life," Malouhos said. "To go through 1-19, I'd do it again. All the work was worth it."
As a sophomore, Malouhos was part of a young group that was thrown into the deep end of the pool after Boone graduated 1,540 of its 1,607 points scored the year before, when it went 20-5 and won a sectional.
"We didn't have a whole lot of choice," coach Matt McKay said. "They had to go on stage a little sooner than they probably should have."
Malouhos started most of that season, which saw the Wolves lose 19 straight after an opening win. Boone improved to 6-14 last year and with four of their top four scorers back, optimism was high for the current campaign.
"You could see the maturation process, physical as well as mental," McKay said. "The funny thing was, I was always a power coach. I always had big guys. Now we had some skilled kids, guys who could get to the basket. It just took two years to get the point where they understood what we were doing. I'm not sure we could've done it in a year, no matter who we had."
Boone enjoyed a successful summer, beating a number of larger schools, but lost junior Sam Eleftheri to a knee injury, then had sophomore Merrick Nicksic move to Tennessee shortly after the start of practice.
"It's had a pretty big effect on the team," Malouhos said. "We had a lot of depth (before). I knew I was going to be playing a lot more minutes."
McKay also had to pull the reins back on the up-tempo philosophy in which he was playing four guards at one time. Primarily a combination guard, the 6-foot-1 Malouhos found himself playing more small forward.
"It was a whole domino thing," McKay said. "It was tough on Daniel because it threw him into a different role. He was more of a ball handler and now he had to go to guarding a different type of player."
With other players fitting into the playing rotation, Malouhos sees time at any of three positions, depending on match-ups, and that suits him just fine.
"I want to be the best I can in all aspects on the floor, distributing the ball, forcing turnovers, just stepping up and playing as steady as I can for the team," he said. "I like to work hard on defense. My ball handling and passing are a lot better. Through our offense, no one's really going to break off 30 points in a game, especially this year."
On a team with no one scoring more than 12 points per game, Malouhos averages 8.2.
"It took us, including myself, half a season, to get comfortable in what we were doing," McKay said. "We always had that core of guys, Dean (Hill), Jake (Clapp) and Daniel, that we were fitting pieces around. I was keeping an eye on the second half of the season and the sectional, knowing we'd have a chance if we put it all together. The kids started believing and we were fortunate to be able to do it."