Last Friday, I made the trip to Greenfield to cover the Nodaway Valley vs. Interstate 35 basketball games.
Back in Creston, the Panthers were hosting Denison-Schleswig in a varsity doubleheader.
There was a quirk in the schedule, as the varsity girls were the nightcap of the event, since the JV girls were playing the opening game with the varsity boys game sandwiched in between.
With the girls game coming down to the wire in the first contest at Denison and the boys game going to double overtime, I anticipated two highly-competitive basketball games.
Turns out, my gut instinct was correct.
What I didn’t anticipate, however, was the mass exodus of fans at the conclusion of the varsity boys game prior to the varsity girls.
Not only was CNA sports writer Larry Peterson disappointed to see that happen, but it was disappointing for Creston girls coach Larry McNutt.
What kind of message does that send to his girls, when they see a large group of fans get up and leave before their game?
They’re every bit as deserving as the boys of having fan support from the local community. All of those fans who got up and left before the girls game missed out on a good game and a Panther win in the process.
The Panther girls host two home games each of the next two weeks, highlighted by the “Wrap Up Cancer” game — a varsity doubleheader against Red Oak on Feb. 7.
It’s the annual cancer fundraiser game for the Panthers, and this year, all proceeds will be going to Greater Regional Medical Center for the purchase of a blanket warmer for the Greater Regional Cancer Center.
“Different years it’s (money raised) gone to the American Cancer Society,” McNutt said. “Last year, we kept it locally to help a couple of students who were battling cancer. This year, we thought the hospital could use the funds in their cancer wing to help them out.”
The blanket warmer is used to warm up cancer patients after their chemotherapy treatments.
Funds have been raised through the sale of T-shirts. While the deadline has passed to order those T-shirts, McNutt said he believes SADD and EAST ordered extras to sell at the game.
Donations are also being accepted in the form of sponsoring the game. Sponsorships are $25 each, and can be purchased by businesses or individuals.
Sponsors will have their names published in the game program.
The girls basketball team will be wearing pink uniforms for the Feb. 7 game, and both teams will warm up in the grey “Wrap Up Cancer” T-shirts.
The event is being organized by the SADD program sponsored by Angie Bolinger and the EAST program under the direction of Anthony Donahoo.
And, as if the “Wrap Up Cancer” event isn’t enough, the girls basketball game should be an entertaining one.
The Panthers battled all the way until the end with a then-10th ranked Red Oak on Jan. 14, eventually falling by six.
McNutt hopes that when the Panthers get the Tigers in Creston on their home floor, they’ll be able to pull the upset.
It’d be nice to have a large home crowd that night to help fuel the Panthers along.
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