For all Lonn Reisman has accomplished in his 21 seasons at Tarleton, nothing stands out more than two great feats.
There are conference championships, regional championships, a win in the 2005 national quarterfinals and much more to choose from, but none of those victories - as big as each was - top the two great comebacks.
They are the two accomplishments Reisman will continue to refer to throughout his career when trying to get teams to believe.
So which one is better?
Is it more impressive to come from 30 points behind and win in a Lone Star Conference semifinal game, or to become the first team in LSC history to reach the postseason conference tournament after losing five of its first six divisional games?
In 2004, the stage was all set. Tarleton, ranked No. 1 in the nation, won its LSC quarterfinal contest and then got to host the semifinals and championship (this was before the “Road to Bartlesville” took the conference tournament to a neutral location).
But in the first half of the semis against Texas A&M-Kingsville, Tarleton forgot to show up. The Javelinas ran over and around the Texans for the first 20 minutes, and by halftime the usually rowdy Wisdom Gym crowd had grown so quiet, one could hear a pin drop in the bleachers.
The score was 49-19. Coming out of the locker room, a disgruntled Texan player quit the team and walked off the floor in front of thousands of witnesses.
All was not well.
But then Tim Burnette and Brandon Lee began raining 3-point bombs and the deficit slowly began to disappear.
Tarleton hung 70 points on the board in the second half, gave up 36, and danced the night away at center court as Plowboys, Purple Poo and the normal fans too stormed the floor.
It was the greatest comeback in school history, and will continue to be talked about for ages.
But then this.
The Texans were 1-5. Respected sports columnist Nick Gholson of the Wichita Falls Times-Record News penned the words, “from preseason favorite to postseason no. Nothing.”
As the Texans finished off their fifth win in six games and the final score of Abilene Christian’s upset win over West Texas A&M was announced, the Wisdom faithful let out a resounding cheer. Public address announcer Mike Scott then shared with all 2,846 on hand the quote of the night.
“When you’re a Texan, you just gotta believe!” Scott exclaimed to everyone.
The words never rang more true.
The Texans’ run included their first road win at WTAMU since 2004 and home wins over South champ Midwestern State, Angelo State, ACU and Eastern New Mexico. The only hiccup in the second half of conference action was a very winnable 76-72 road loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Which is better? Winning five of six games in an uber tough division full of teams that handed you five losses in your previous six, or one special night when the moon, the planets and a whole bunch of bombs from downtown aligned perfectly for an incredible 30-point comeback?
Both are spectacular.
Even Reisman, who has spent 21 seasons lifting Tarleton basketball from the grave to the national spotlight, would have a hard time picking which is best.
As the Texans join the TexAnns in packing for the trip to Bartlesville, which one is best isn’t the questioned being posed. It’s “what history will be made next?” that everyone wants to know.
When you’re a Texan, you just gotta believe.