There's a moment in Jacob Lindsey's senior season that stands out, a stark example of everything the year has come to exemplify for both himself and the fortunes of the Dickson Comets basketball team.
It came in the last minute of the team's 4A district contest against Ada last Friday night. With the Comets trailing 55-50 at home, Lindsey was lined up on the baseline, stepping into yet another 3-point attempt, perhaps the best chance the team would have to pull off the late rally.
The shot just missed, bouncing around the rim before falling into the arms of the Ada defenders. Dickson went on to lose the game, the team's 17th loss of the season and one that put the Comets a loss away from the end of Lindsey's high school career.
He was brilliant, as usual, in the loss; 17 points, including two 3-pointers. Another strong chapter in what has been a stellar individual campaign for Lindsey.
The shooting guard has averaged 25 points per game for Dickson, shooting 47 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. Lindsey and fellow senior Jeffrey Dodson form perhaps the best shooting tandem in the Lake Country Conference, and coaches from around the area have said there is no player in southern Oklahoma than can surpass Lindsey as an outside shooter.
"He's a one-man wrecking crew," Madill coach Aaron George said. "You just have to hope you can slow him down."
"Incredible scorer," Plainview coach Jeremy Stewart said. "One of the best shooters in the state."
The quiet, humble young man would give all of it up for his team to win.
"I'd rather win than score," Lindsey said. "It's tough every time we lose."
Off the court, Lindsey is demure, unselfish and downright normal. He is markedly reserved for a player of his caliber, refreshing in a modern age of look-at-me tactics.
"When we lose, I hate seeing the look on the faces of those guys in the locker room, especially the young guys," Lindsey said. "It's nice to have good numbers and stuff, but our record is more important."
His coach, Chuck Ryan, says much the same. He has watched Lindsey grow, both as a player and a person, and has nothing but admiration for the product that has developed.
"I'm being dead serious, he'd rather score none and win, than score 100 and lose," Ryan said. "That's the kind of player he is."
It has been a difficult conundrum for Ryan this season. On the one hand is the stellar play he can expect from both Lindsey and Dodson, two seniors that routinely score well into double-digits every night.
On the other hand, there are the other glaring deficiencies that the Comets have struggled with this season. The team came into the season with zero varsity experience outside of the seniors, and it has shown for much of the year.
For Lindsey, it creates what can often be a lonesome burden, night after night:
Be brilliant, or lose.
"It starts to weigh on me, big-time," Lindsey admitted. "Especially being a senior, knowing that I have to try and lead these guys to a win every night."
But it has yet to stop the determined young man. He'll be there once again Thursday night against Star Spencer, looking to keep alive the dream for at least one more game.
"Even when we lose, I know that we just have to come in the next day and practice," Lindsey said. "That's all we can do."