It was loud in the Smith-Cotton High School gym on Friday night.
With nearly 1,200 fans packed in to see the Smith-Cotton boys and girls basketball teams play rival Warrensburg, it was a large and energetic group.
Maybe they were there because it was courtwarming. Maybe it was because it was Warrensburg. Maybe they were there because Smith-Cotton was inducting its first Hall of Fame class. Whatever brought that crowd out that night, once they got to the gym they made their presence felt.
The student section in particular kept the decibel level high most of the night. In the student section there were painted faces, signs, black and gold wigs, a guy dressed as a Smith-Cotton themed super hero complete with gold cape.
That kind of thing makes it more fun. Every “You got swatted” chant after Abby Knight redirects an opponent’s shot, every “He’s a freshman” chant when Chance Johnson drains a 3-pointer, the fever pitch when Brady Ritzert drained a 3-pointer to erase Warrensburg’s lead early in the fourth quarter and Johnson’s 4-point play a few seconds later to put Smith-Cotton in the lead all add up to making the atmosphere of that gym memorable.
A crowd that is vocal like that makes high school basketball fun. The noise gets loud enough that the visiting team is having trouble talking in the huddle during a timeout and you just know that the next jumper that finds nothing but net is going to make things even louder. A gym watching a basketball team get on a roll is loud enough to make a jet engine seem like two people whispering in a library.
It’s something that I have always loved about covering sports and something I wish we could see more of. Smith-Cotton had a great crowd out on Friday. They should come back every game. Perhaps they could turn out tonight.
The Smith-Cotton girls basketball team is in the midst of a tight West Central Conference race.
The Lady Tigers sit 3-2 in WCC play entering tonight’s game at home against Clinton. Clinton, St. Pius X and O’Hara are in a three-way tie for first at 4-2. With the Celtics and
Warriors facing each other tonight in Kansas City, the winner of the that game will be in first place and with a win over Clinton, Smith-Cotton would be alone in second place just a half-game back.
But that win over Clinton is the important part of the equation. Smith-Cotton beat Clinton 42-37 back in December but now the two teams are slated for a rematch with major implications on the WCC race.
This time, of course, its the Lady Tigers who get the home-court advantage, and the best way to make home-court advantage count is to make it loud in that gym.
If the student section brings the energy it brought to the Warrensburg game on Friday, that should be no problem.