Some wins mean more.
Overtime wins. Come-from-behind wins. Wins to stay undefeated in conference play. Wins over the top-ranked team in the area.
And Northrop's 68-62 win over visiting Homestead on Friday night fit into all four categories.
"Homestead is the standard for the conference," Northrop coach Rod Chamble said. "(Homestead coach Chris) Johnson does a great job with his kids, and so we knew that this was a chance for us to show that our program is moving up on that ladder.
"We've worked hard for the last three years to get to this point."
The Bruins (11-3, 6-0 SAC) trailed 30-27 at halftime as the Spartans (13-2, 4-2) took advantage of wide-open looks. Northrop star forward Sydney Curry had only scored two points in the first two quarters, as he stole the ball in the final seconds of the second quarter, grabbed a teammate's miss and scored on the put-back.
Northrop guard Isaac Anderson said the Bruins' defense suffered because the players weren't communicating in the first half, leading to cross-ups and scoring opportunities for Homestead.
"We were getting caught on screens," Chamble said. "They were running long screens, from one side of the court to the other side of the court, and they weren't talking. (My players) should've just switched it. ... And when we did that, we started taking away the wing passes. And we felt that if we could take away the wing passes to his entry, then we would do something unorthodox for them."
After missing his first five shots, Curry heated up in the third quarter, scoring eight of his eventual 20 points.
Northrop finally went ahead, 48-47, in the fourth quarter on a steal from Nick Haines and a layup by Anderson, who followed up with two foul shots. Homestead's Zac Brandtmiller tied the game at 50-50 with a 3-pointer and then Northrop did .... nothing.
For two full minutes, taking advantage of the lack of a shot clock, Anderson stood, holding the ball, just short of half-court, not even dribbling. The Homestead players held position and did not challenge him for the ball.
"We gave Homestead a taste of their own medicine," Anderson explained. "That's usually their style, they hold it for a long period of time when it's tied or they're up. So we took their strategy and used it against them. And the outcome was good for us."
Northrop did, eventually, pass the ball and call a timeout, and Homestead broke up the next attempted slow down with a foul. Both teams would hit two free throws before the end of regulation to go into overtime tied at 52.
The extra period began with a thunderous dunk by Curry, and the scene quickly devolved into confusion as Curry limped off with what proved to be a muscle cramp, Alec Grinsfelder was called for his fifth foul for attempting to guard the shot, and the Homestead bench argued that the clock continued to run several seconds after the score.
Although Curry missed the following free throw, he dominated overtime, scoring seven points and the Bruins' lead grew to 12. Not even three clutch shots by Luke Goode could pull the Spartans back into contention.
Goode finished with 20 points, while Zak Krueger had 13 and Trent Loomis scored 10.
Anderson and Curry each scored 20 for the Bruins, and Qualen Pettus added 14. Perhaps the most striking statistic was the five steals by Curry.
"He's a lot more intelligent than people give him credit for, and he's a lot quicker than people think he is at that size," Chamble said of Curry. "He's been hearing all week, 'Oh, you've got to guard a shooter, you've got to play better defense.' And this was him making that effort."