In an evening that pitted county rivals against one another, there was an atmosphere reserved for an intense division game, not a game in early December.
Myrtle and West Union battled back and forth the entire evening, and while Myrtle took its theme to the next level, West Union did not back down, answering anything Myrtle did.
This game, these schools, showed true school spirit, deserving of co-champion honors this year.
Myrtle’s S.W.A.T. team a hit for fans of all ages
Myrtle has a rich tradition in basketball, and has had a lot to cheer for in the last decade.
From watching now WNBA standout Armintie Price develop in front of them to multiple trips to Jackson, vying for a state title, Myrtle’s students know how to back their team, and was reinforced during a match-up against county rival West Union.
The S.W.A.T. came out in full force, donning t-shirts, holding signs and adding a strobe light, black lights and a police siren to the already unique pregame introductions.
“We always try to cheer as hard as we can at every game, and we have things we love to do, like the Cha Cha. We have to do that every game,” cheerleader Allie Bishop said of the school’s game day rituals.
“For this, we made the signs and bought t-shirts, just trying to get everyone to come together, so we can win, and the response from everyone has been great.”
The section behind the home bench was filled by the black shirts, and West Union saw the S.W.A.T. team make its debut.
Standing for “Students With Aggressive Tactics,” the section cheered hard during both games, and enjoyed not only watching the Hawks win in the second game, but also seeing their hard work pay off, which was weeks in the making.
One thing unique to the county schools is the age range of the students cheering at the games. Not just limited to the high school students, kids of all ages participated, and even the adults got in on the fun, creating a great atmosphere for Union County basketball.
“We’re the best in the county, because we can all come together,” Bishop said. “Almost the entire school is here. We’re cheering on our team and doing everything we can to stand behind them and cheer them on to a win.”
Since the West Union game last month, the S.W.A.T. team shirts have been seen at several games, both home and away, showing that school pride is very much alive at Myrtle.
West Union comes together to support its teams
The visiting side of Myrtle’s gym was a sea of red, but not for the Hawks.
One of two teams given the challenge of competing on the road in this year’s challenge, West Union answered the call and did not back down against its county rival.
The West Union cheerleaders made sure that the students remained active throughout the evening, incorporating the traditional cheers they use at home games.
“At every game, there are certain cheers that we do, certain ones for the boys and girls games,” captain Julie Canoy said. “We also have themes we do for all of the games, like wearing all red or white, and we had a black out for our first game.”
For the Myrtle game, students decked out in red, and some took it to the next level with face paint and tutus in the school’s colors.
The girls’ game had both schools going at one another, but it was West Union’s intensity that created the tie this year.
Despite falling behind in the boys’ game, the students reamined strong until the final minutes and made the evening an overall success for both schools.
“We tried to get as many people as we could out here, wearing red and cheering hard, and we think that it worked,” captain Amber Kirk said.
For West Union, cheering at the games is not something reserved for certain students, it is a way to unify the entire school.
“We are the best student section in the county, because as a school, we come together,” Canoy said.
“It doesn’t matter if we hang out or not, we all come together to support our teams, and we encourage our basketball teams to play to the best of their ability.”
Both schools put on an unbelievable show, and when they face one another on Jan. 8, there is sure to be another showdown, not only on the court, but also in the stands.