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The moods could not have been more different.

One team lingered on the floor to soak in a statement win. The South Western boys' basketball team had just notched the most impressive victory of its nine-game unbeaten run to start the season, a 58-47 win over William Penn. The Mustangs exchanged hugs and handshakes for a few minutes before finally heading to their locker room and, later, their bus back to Hanover.

Meanwhile, William Penn spent upwards of 10 minutes in its locker room before players and coaches began trickling out. No doubt they were trying to make sense of their most disappointing outing of the season, a night in which the Bearcats normally high-powered offense never shifted out of neutral.

You can find plenty of South Western perspective in my game story. But William Penn coach Troy Sowers had some interesting comments, many of which didn't make the print story. I figured I'd post them here.

Sowers was pretty forthcoming in admitting this would be a gut-check for his team. The Bearcats (6-3) have lost two games in a row for the first time since the 2010 District 3-AAAA tournament (to Hempfield and Wilson, respectively).

"This team has to get its identity right now," the coach said. "It’s early in the season still. We’re 6-3. This team didn’t do anything. This team isn’t last year’s team. This team doesn’t have Kelvin Parker or Malik Generett.

"We have to shoot for our own identity. What’s that going to be? If it’s stand around the 3-point line and shoot a lot of 3s, well, if you shoot (6-of-20) it’s going to be a long night.

"I think we settled. We settled for their speed. We’re a running team with 10 guards. So we don’t really want to run a lot of 12-pass, half-court sets."

The good news: William Penn has plenty of season left to make up for this defeat, including a rematch with the Mustangs on Jan. 27.

The bad news: The Bearcats don't have much time to regroup. They visit Dallastown on Friday. The Wildcats are 8-2 and have a trio of towering forwards who could make life difficult for William Penn's undersized lineup.

"This is the adversity that’s going to define us," Sowers said. "I told the kids when you have a game like this, it can go one of two ways. We can support each other, or we can point fingers. And we decided we’re going to support each other. Be mentally tough at practice. Focus on the little things. Because we have a lot of season left.

"We’re the same team we were two hours ago. We didn’t play well tonight, and I think we have to learn to grow and support each other and see how far we can take this."

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