Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A first of Titanic proportions

Would there be a spine-tingling chill? What would the fans be like? Would I be able to find any parking?

Since the Nipomo High boys basketball team was playing in its first playoff game in school history Wednesday — and that game was at home — I was just as curious to check out the atmosphere as I was to see the action. Who knew what to expect?

In the game, Antelope Valley beat the Titans 67-56. But here's a rundown of some of the little behind-the-scenes details I observed. We'll go chronologically.

• First off, the restroom didn't seem to have any extra playoff oomph. But I only went into the one marked "Men."

• Hands freshly cleaned, I got into the gym and saw the turnout. It wasn't bad. The home stands ended up tightly filled and the crowd packed a pretty good wallop.

• Student Jasmine McNeil sang the national anthem, and it was excellent. One of the top three renditions I've heard in almost a year at The Tribune. I wondered aloud if she got the gig through some kind of "Nipomo Idol."

• The public address announcer read the obligatory CIF-Southern Section please-don't-harass-the-refs speech, but I don't think anyone was listening.

• The chants of "De-fense! (clap, clap) De-fense!" started off pretty early, and it seemed the locals were eagerly anticipating their first playoff game, too. But when the Titans made just one of their first 11 shots, it sort of took some of the enthusiasm away.

• The Nipomo cheerleaders were in the house. It was the first time I'd seen them all year. But while Antelope Valley controlled the game in the first half, a small cluster of visting moms, who traveled three-and-a-half hours to see their Antelopes, did most of the cheering.

• On a side note, Antelopes sure is an imaginitive name for a team from Antelope Valley.

• Dominque Saunders explodes for 15 points in the third quarter, and a hush falls over the AV moms. The Nipomo crowd starts chanting "Our house!"

• The Titans fans file out looking disappointed. But I'll give them a good grade. It was a fun ride and the community did well for its first playoff game. Perhaps it was a good thing the restroom was subdued.

No comments: