Just the talent alone is enough to want to sit down and take in a District 10-5A basketball game on a Tuesday or Friday night.
But part of what makes high school basketball such a unique experience is the atmosphere – specifically the section in the stands allotted to the student body. Every game, hundreds of students pour into the stands to show their devotion and support for their respective teams.
A well-executed student section can make a good game feel great and a special performance feel memorable.
There’s no shortage of support for the six teams in District 10-5A and with the regular season officially in the books, the district’s three staff writers weighed in on how these crowds stack up against one another.
Student sections were evaluated based on things like creativity, volume and road game presence, with the results listed below.
1. Plano West
There are few student sections in the state more befitting of the nickname “The Hype.”
Simply put, the Wolves’ student body is worth the price of admission alone. Although the turnout for both home and away games is impressive, this sea of blue and white really separates itself from a creativity standpoint.
That much is apparent even before the opening tipoff, specifically during the player introduction for junior Soso Jamabo. Drowned in chants of “So-so” while the crowd emulates a tomahawk chop, Jamabo caps his intro by running towards the students and throwing a punch at the air, to which the students respond by simultaneously falling backwards.
From the props (including an American flag), the variety of chants (including a play on the infamous “I believe that we will win” anthem with “I believe The Hype”) plus a halftime routine where the students replicate the parting of the Red Sea, the Wolves have a student section only suitable for a district champion.
2. Plano East
"Welcome to the jungle" by Guns and Roses is usually playing in the background before East's home games.
It's an apt description of the student section at the school, which features a multitude of bright colors, shows up in a huge pack and feasts on athletes attempting to shoot free throws on its end of the court.
Complete with a solid pre-game ritual (feigning sleep during the opponent intros and simultaneously erupting into cheers when the first Panther is introduced), chants to get behind the team and even retro jerseys worn by students that give a nod to the squads of season's past, the Panthers make it tough on anyone who tries to navigate the cruel terrain of the jungle.
East doesn't have the traveling student section or creativity that West does, but it sure as heck shows out when the team needs to pick up a home victory. With District 6-6A on the horizon this time next year and the influx of Lewisville ISD schools in the mix, expect the jungle to get even more dense as district play rolls on.
The self-proclaimed "Allen sixth man" packs the bleacher section directly behind the basket closest to the front door, and it can be tough to make any kind of shot with that distraction right in your face.
Factor in the infamous student not afraid to show some skin by pulling his shirt over his head and spontaneous breakouts of the "I believe that we will win" chant, and the makings are there to put the Eagles right up at the top of the bunch when it comes to home games.
Like most student sections, numbers are down for both home and road games on Tuesday nights, but the sixth man does travel on most Friday nights and isn't afraid to go toe to toe with anyone -- regardless of gym.
You'll often see football players in the stands, too -- athletes that know what it takes to win a state championship. Fan support is a big part of the secret potion, and most nights, the Eagles give energy to the players, and vice versa.
4. Plano Senior
The Wildcats are what every student section should strive for.
Although it’s not a group that thrives on creativity, what the Plano faithful lack in flash, they make up for in volume.
Especially for city rivalry games, the Wildcats’ students engulf the far quarter of the home stands and remain engaged in the action from start to finish. Plano plays the classics chant-wise and generally isn’t one for costumes or props, but is still plenty loud and strong enough with its turnout to trade blows with any opposing student section in the district.
When Lion Nation enters a gymnasium in full force it can feel like one too many doses of Nyquil.
Iron Man leads a crowd made up of Disney characters and a giant hotdog in deafening chants of “Air ball” and “You can’t do that.” Free throws for opposing teams become that much more difficult with Mario and Luigi screaming at you from the stands. The problem is, Lion Nation’s costumed antics usually only appear during cross-town rival games against McKinney Boyd.
If McKinney isn’t facing the Broncos, Lion Nation tends to be facing the endangered fans list.
6. McKinney Boyd
Both the Broncos and Lady Broncos were competitive down the stretch, but Boyd doesn’t have the wins to draw the crowds unless playing cross-town rival McKinney.
Broncos basketball fandom dwindled after a rough start became even more rocky. The Lady Broncos deserve better from the stands after their entrance into the bi-district playoffs. The team possesses a few die-hard fans (aka parents), who can outshout and out-annoy whole sections of the opposing teams stands, but Boyd lacks the creativity of other to beat out other schools like West, Allen and even McKinney.