If the fall sports season was any sort of indication, the Brownstown Central girls basketball team was going to have a very loud fan section following them around this winter.
Whether it was the Owen Valley sectional — a familiar two-hour drive to most from Brownstown — the Greencastle regional, another two-hour trek, or the Jeffersonville semistate, the Braves weren’t going anywhere without the support of their community.
Saturday’s semistate game between two, old Mid-Southern Conference and sectional rivals showcased some of the best things about high school sports. While the result wasn’t what anyone from Brownstown wanted, the experience is one players, coaches and fans will hang onto for years.
At least until the Braves make another run to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The support was not lost on anyone involved with the Braves’ girls basketball team, marveling at the sheer numbers of people spending countless hours in the car just to come see them play.
Maybe part of the reason fans were so excited to see the Braves play this season was how hard they worked. Even after the 57-42 semistate loss, Brownstown Central coach Brandon Allman recounted all the times people from the community remarked at how much effort his team displayed game in and game out.
“When you put teams on the floor there that play their tail ends off … people love to watch these girls play,” Allman said. “That’s all you ask for as a coach and that’s all you can ask for out of your players.”
Fans from all four schools competing at the Jeffersonville semistate lined up to get into the gym long before the doors ever opened at noon.
Yet, even if Brownstown, Salem, Bedford and Indianapolis all had fans in their sections, it was hard not notice just how much red and black as well as yellow and black were in the stands.
Both MSC teams filled up their lower level bleachers, overflowed their upper level sections and packed what was left of the neutral section at the east end of the gym.
Both teams struggled to hear their own teammates on the floor let alone hear the orders barked from their coaches.
It’s that kind of raucous atmosphere that makes high school sports — especially basketball — so much fun to be a part of.
“That’s basketball at its finest right there,” Allman said. “You had two programs that packed the house, and you just can’t say enough about our community and the support that we get, the support we’ve had and the support we’ll continue to get.”