Local basketball teams need support

Published 9:13 pm Thursday, February 9, 2017

Local basketball teams have spent their entire season getting ready for this time of year, when the high school playoffs begin. This week teams are taking part in area tournaments around the state and next week sub-regional games will be held to determine which schools march on to regional play.

At that point, teams will only need four wins to claim a state championship, but first, they’ve got to get there. A season full of late practices and hard work can often come down to just a play or two. Several of our teams played well enough this year to earn the right to host area tournaments and for the most part, most of our local schools have fared well.

As of this writing, seven local basketball teams were still playing as part of the AHSAA playoffs and both Meadowview Christian teams are set to take part in the ACAA postseason too.

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The Dallas County boys and Keith girls will host area championship games Friday night and the Selma girls hosted on Thursday night. Sadly, these games don’t always draw the crowds the way many of our local rivalries do.

We get it. We understand that Stanhope Elmore-Selma isn’t the same draw that Selma-Southside or Selma-Keith is. But at the same time, we also know that many in this area want to see our local teams advance far into the high school playoffs.

When our teams have advanced as far as Montgomery or Birmingham, the crowds are often huge. Fans and students drive over in droves to be supportive and to cheer on our teams. Many are fans or alumni of other local schools, but they enjoy seeing any school from this area be successful so they drive over anyways.

That’s great sportsmanship and it shows the closeness of this area and it serves as a reminder that sports have a way of bringing people together.

However, none of our AHSAA teams are getting to Montgomery or Birmingham without winning a sub-regional game first. The Selma girls are hosting a sub-regional game Monday and the Dallas County boys could host Tuesday, depending on if they win tonight. The Keith girls could also host Monday with a win tonight.

The point is this — our local students, players and cheerleaders need local support. If they’ve earned home court advantage — which is a huge deal — then make it a huge deal. We’d like to see every gym filled to capacity the next few nights.

We also want to be clear though — a great deal of people go to every game and yell as loudly as they can regardless who the opponent is. That’s great, and we’re sure local schools appreciate it.

But at the same time, it’s fair to say that the average attendance goes down this time of year at every local school. Rivalry games are over as each team gets into play in its own classification and unfortunately that means smaller crowds.

The support might be the difference in one of our teams bowing out of the playoffs early or making a deep run.