But the seventh-ranked Sumner girls may have won a lot of hearts in the process.
It was the first appearance on the auditorium floor since 1996 for Sumner, and the underdog Tigers came within a whisker of knocking off their Dexter counterparts in the 38-36 loss.
Sumner played without junior guard Genesis DiCarlo, one of its top players who was felled by a knee injury midway through the season.
But number-two Dexter could not find a way to Sumner away in the battle of Tigers.
Sumner led 9-7 after one period and trailed 19-15 at halftime.
In the third quarter, a 9-2 Dexter run opened up a 28-21 lead, the largest of the game, but it didn’t last.
Two baskets by sophomore forward Jordan Merchant and another by sophomore guard Savana Turner sparked a fourth-period Sumner run that cut Dexter’s lead to a single point, 30-29, with 4:40 to go.
A conventional three-point play by Dexter sophomore Michaela White and a three-pointer by senior Lauren Crane pushed the lead to 36-31, forcing a Sumner time out with 2:14 to go.
Seconds after play resumed, Sumner junior guard Jessica West came up with a steal and put the ball up and in to close the gap to 36-33 with 1:52 left to play.
But Dexter made three trips toi the foul line in the final 72 seconds, connecting on just two of five shots but pushing the lead to 38-33 before Turner hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Merchant led 12-8 Sumner with 12 points and Turner and sophomore Taylor Davis had eight points each.
White led 19-0 Dexter with 13 points and Crane added 11.
“These girls have the most heart of any team I’ve seen,” said Sumner coach Amanda Violette following the game.
She noted that the team had only two or three players with more than a year of varsity experience.
“But they never give up,” she said, “and they’re all class acts on the court and off.”
Their fans clearly agree.
The auditorium reverberated with chants of “we still love you” after the final buzzer sounded.