Not for one second did the Mohonasen boys basketball team's effort wane during Saturday's Class A regional championship game against Jamesville-DeWitt at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
What did in the Mighty Warriors was not a lack of desire but a vast talent gap that the three-time defending state champion Red Rams fully exploited at several key stages of the game, leading Mohonasen to a 67-50 defeat.
Nearly two decades had passed since the Mighty Warriors had last appeared in the state tournament. And that 1992 visit appeared even more of a distant memory when compared with J-D's regular trips to Glens Falls and the titles it has won.
Then there was the size issue. No one in Mohonasen's starting lineup is taller than 6-3, while the Rams possess two top prospects in 6-10 center DaJuan Coleman and 6-7 forward Tyler Cavanaugh, both juniors.
Given that, and given J-D's preference for pushing the tempo, Mohonasen knew it had to slow things down, keep mistakes to a minimum and avoid the Rams' patented spurts to have any chance.
Midway through the first quarter, the Mighty Warriors led 7-5 before J-D went on the first of those runs, a 9-0 sprint where Coleman had four consecutive baskets, all on strong inside moves.
After Mohonasen pulled within 18-13 early in the second quarter, J-D guard Demetrius Mitchell took over. He had 10 of his 19 points in that period, including a couple of 3-pointers, as the Rams put together a 14-3 run and threatened to pull far away.
Again, the Mighty Warriors fought back, using a 10-2 spurt of its own that lasted into the third quarter, capped by Jacob Ritz's basket that made it 34-26 and forced J-D to use a time-out.
Now Coleman returned, with even more of a presence than before, to settle matters. He tallied 12 of his 31 points in a 19-8 surge that covered most of the rest of the period. That included two big dunks and a steal and lay-up that turned into a three-point play when Coleman got fouled hard.