But if sometime, in say January or February, the Lebanon Catholic boys' basketball team has regained a place of prominence in District Three hoops circles, then the back-to-back 5-17 seasons it has endured will have been well worth it.
Yes, it hasn't been a whole lot of fun for the boys on Assumption Hill since the 2009-10 squad made a spirited state playoff run. But if this year's edition of the Beavers plays to the level that head Scott Clentimack believes it is capable of reaching, the sense of gloom that has been prevalent the last two seasons will be long gone.
"We went through some growing pains the last couple of years, being really young," Clentimack said. "And it just seemed that everybody else, it was kinda their time. There were a lot of senior-oriented teams.
"We took our lumps and went through some growing pains. But I think we've grown and improved, not only our physical talent but our basketball IQ. And this group has really good chemistry. With all that said, I think we're gonna reap the rewards of having to go through those rough times."
Those character-building struggles aren't the only reason Clentimack is excited about this year's team.
There's also plenty of talent returning, led by 6-foot-2 senior guard and soon-to-be three-year starter Timmy Orr.
Orr, also the Beavers' most versatile player, averaged a team-best
"Timmy's had a lot thrust on him the last couple years," Clentimack said of Orr, now in his second season as team captain. "Timmy's had to step up and be a leader maybe a little before his time, and I think he's done a great job. He's
But with Pletz and Frattaroli around, along with a solid supporting cast, Orr won't come close to having to do it all himself.
In addition to that trio, small but scrappy junior guards Jaylan Colon and Drew Gates figure to make strong contributions as does 5-10 junior guard Anthony Thomas, a transfer from Maryland.
Frontcourt play on the guard-oriented squad will be handled by 6-foot sophomore John Groh and 6-foot junior Iain Moyer after last year's starting center Matt Kern elected not to play this season.
But the lack of a traditional post presence figures to be more than overcome by the size and athleticism the Beavers are blessed with on the wings courtesy of Orr, Frattaroli and Pletz.
"While we do lack that big guy, I think we have some really, really good athletes," Clentimack said. "We have some kids that can do a lot of different things. We've got some length on the perimeter.
"Obviously, I'm a little concerned from a rebounding standpoint," Clentimack added. "It's a situation where we can't rely on one or two guys to rebound. Everybody's gonna have to help rebound."
And if the Beavers can build enough on their strengths and compensate adequately for their weaknesses, a three-peat of 5-17 or a similarly disappointing record won't be a concern.
It may not show itself right away since the Beavers figure to be challenged quite a bit by league play in Section Four and crossover action with Section Three.
But by the time crunch time arrives late in the regular season, Catholic could well be a district title contender again.
"Our league is still tough," Clentimack said. "That's gonna be tough to maneuver through. But districts is where we have our sights set. And in addition to what we have, the district might be down a little bit, too. I think we have a good shot there."
Particularly if the same optimistic spirit and get-to-work attitude that the Beavers have shown through the tough times endures throughout this coming season.
"When you go through what we've gone through as far as losing the last couple years, that can drag kids