NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- Look at the scoreboard, and Wednesday's 50-30 loss to Holyoke Catholic was another in a long string of disappointments for the McCann Tech girls basketball team on Wednesday night.
But that's not where McCann coach Mike Dowling would rather you look at his players.
"They're all red-faced, sweating and tired -- whether we won by four against Lenox or lost by 20 against Holyoke Catholic," Dowling said. "That's the way this team has to go to build.
"And as far as I can see so far, I think we're on a good path. We've got a nice little JV program here coming up. I've got four sophomores on the varsity, and probably three of them could start."
What Dowling does not have is a single senior on this year's roster, which is a good sign for the future.
Another good sign, the way the Hornets (5-11) hustled to the end on Wednesday night.
Holyoke Catholic (10-3) started the fourth quarter with a 39-13 lead and started pulling its starters a couple of minutes into the quarter.
But McCann battled against a level of competition that Dowling said is a little more suited to where the Hornets are right now -- closing the gap with a 17-11 quarter that featured nine points from Allie Gibeau.
Gibeau scored a team-high 13 points for McCann.
Holyoke Catholic's Kyra Robins scored 18 to lead her team to a Western Mass tournament-clinching win.
McCann is probably a year away from making a serious bid for the tournament, but Dowling is encouraged.
"The game last week against Lenox, we were behind, 14-1, and came back and won," he said.
"It's tough for my team to compete against a senior-laden team [like Holyoke Catholic], but I think they're improving as we go.
"Patience. ... We've still got one big game in our league against Cathedral, who beat us [36-27] the last time."
McCann goes to Ware on Thursday night. It hosts Cathedral on Monday.