Students help fuel Ironton’s tourney runPublished 3:07am Friday, March 15, 2013
ATHENS — When the Ironton Fighting Tigers boys’ basketball team won the district championship, they celebrated on the court.
But the players didn’t just hug each other. They turned and saluted the students in the Ohio University Convocation Center stands above their team bench.
Make no mistake about it. The Ironton team is very much aware of the crowd support from the adults and the student body.
“We talk about it at practice and getting the support of their peers. It’s motivational when they play and it adds the excitement, said Ironton coach Mark LaFon.
“We appreciate the time they take to show up and support the team and the school spirit they supply.”
The student section does have its own “coaching staff.” Seniors Tanner Dutey and Trent Barnett are the unofficial leaders of the student section.
“I love leading the student section. It makes me feel like I’m doing my part to help the team,” said Dutey who was an all-district quarterback for the football team.
The student section had good numbers and was loud during the regular season, but it has increased its numbers throughout the postseason tournament run.
“I’m always encouraging people to join in and make the section as big and loud as possible to try and impact the game,” said Dutey.
The students know the cheers by hard and act simultaneously to the directions of Dutey and Barnett. Dutey said the cheering itinerary is spontaneous although he admits he does have some future plans in mind.
“We usually don’t plan much out, just kinda see how the game goes and let the team dictate what we do,” said Dutey. “And yes, we have something very special in mind for state if we are fortunate enough to make it there.”