After every game - win or lose - at Ban Johnson Arena, the two opposing basketball teams' players and coaches face each other and march in single file in front of the scorer's table, exchanging hand taps - and sometimes even hugs.
"Good game. Good game. Good game."
Ensuing this act of mutual sportsmanship, the players of the Marietta College women's squad, if they win, usually rush with beaming smiles to center court to share in a moment of celebration before heading to the locker room.
On Wednesday night at BJA, after dropping a last-second 80-79 decision to visiting Capital University, the Lady Pioneers - and coaches, too - might have considered "climbing the walls" at the far end of Fenton Court.
They might even have been grinding their teeth and thinking about maybe pulling out their hair, too.
"Capital just seems to have our number," said MC head coach Jill Meiring.
With 11 seconds left on the game clock, MC had an opportunity to stretch its one-point advantage at the foul line but didn't convert. Given a second life, the Lady Crusaders got the rebound and made the most of it.
Down 79-78 with four seconds remaining in the contest, Capital's Hilary Kuhns scored on a layup to put the Lady Cruaders up - and over as it turned out.
Marietta was unable to get a desperation, last-second shot off due to a turnover.
"We should have won that game," Meiring said. "But you know we're getting there. We're right on the brink. We just have to learn from it."
So close to beating the Lady Crusaders, only to have it snatched away.
No one, of course, likes losing but getting buzzer bit and beaten in two straight games is, well....
"It's frustrating," Meiring said.
Last Saturday, Marietta was denied a win in a similar fashion at Heidelberg University by the identical score of 80-79. Wonder what the odds of that occuring are?
"We should have beaten Heidelberg," Meiring said.
Anyways, in that game, the MC lady cagers were three seconds away from chalking up a hard-fought triumph when HU sophomore Kathleen Phillips scored the game-winner.
OK, it happens all the time in sports - but two games in a row?
Needless to say, Marietta is hoping to skip the dramatics when it hosts John Carroll University in an Ohio Athletic Conference game at 3 p.m. Saturday at BJA.
On paper, it looks like a winnable game for the Lady Pioneers as JCU owns a losing record. But the Lady Blue Streaks have been playing better ball of late and are coming off a two-point win against Muskingum University on Wednesday.
Last season, Marietta was beaten twice pretty handily by John Carroll, so it's not going to be any gimme by any stretch of the imagination.
"John Carroll's been on a roll," Meiring said. "But we'll be ready for them. I think our kids believe they've got something to prove."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441 or at email@example.com