Columbus North fans have no shortage of spirit — especially the parents.
Eddie King was just one visage of their support and enthusiasm Saturday evening with his curly blue wig, face paint and his “Daddy Dawg Pound” jersey as he waited with other parents, family members and fans to send the girls basketball team on its way to the state championship game.
King is the father of senior player Sheyanne Street and said he also went all out in spirit her freshman year when the team made it to the state title game.
“It’s good for us to come together,” King said of the families. “We can have fun with it, too.”
The families also decked out their vehicles with supportive messages, such as “Go Dogs!” and “Leave Your Mark.”
Julie Davis proudly plastered her daughters’ numbers — 14 and 24, for Ali and Kenzie Patberg — in large print on her van windows, with some help from other family members.
Davis and other moms held up large photos of the girls’ faces, helping to start a slow clap and cheering as the girls came out of North’s athletic complex to get on the bus to Indianapolis.
Dog digs Bull Dogs
One lucky bulldog got a lot of love and quality camera time Saturday evening as he patiently waited to greet the Columbus North girls basketball team.
The team stopped briefly as members walked to the bus to pose with Kush.
Owner Ann Stevens said Kush is a big fan of the Bull Dogs and goes to several of their games, sometimes riding on a skateboard through the gym. He isn’t an official mascot, though, Stevens said.
Kush goes to events at other schools and helps with programs around the community, including Make-a-Wish, literacy fairs and helping kids learn their colors, she said.
Columbus North’s cheerleading coach was pregnant the last time the girls basketball team made it to the state championship and missed the game.
But even though Sarah Frasier, who has been cheer coach for 11 years, was pregnant again this year and due at the end of the month, she decided she was going to go.
“I wasn’t going to miss this game,” she said, hands cradling her baby bump.
At 36 weeks, Frasier has been going to weekly doctors appointments and couldn’t travel further than three hours away from home, but said she was “chancing it.”
And even though students have been joking about her pregnancy being a good luck charm, she called it a “chance thing.”
Frasier and her husband Nathan think that “two is good,” she said.
Little girl big fan
One of North’s youngest fans stood on her seat avidly watching the girls basketball team play and enthusiastically waved her pom-poms.
Three-year-old Bella Slate goes to practices and usually is with the cheerleaders during the games, her father Brandon Slate said.
Bella is the daughter of Ashley Slate, who is both assistant coach for the varsity team and head coach for the freshman team.
And during games and practices, she gets a little bit of everything — both basketball and cheerleading — her grandmother, Pam Hilderbrand, said.
She’s got spirit
Columbus North alumna Lisa McMinds was known as the “Spirit Queen” her senior year.
And she held true to that nickname Saturday night as she stood and cheered on the girls basketball team at the top of her lungs.
McMinds’ daughter, Elizabeth McCarty, is a senior at North and is best friends with player Sheyanne Street.
The mother-daughter pair has been to most games this season and every home game, McCarty said.
McMinds said the game was giving her a chance to relive her senior year during her daughter’s senior year and share that experience.
Their goal was to have no voices left during the drive back, she said.
Even when the Bull Dogs didn’t have the lead, Columbus North students were on their feet still hoping for a win.
Sophomore Marina Hughes, with her face paint and green tutu, was having a good time and really enjoying the atmosphere.
And sophomore Tanner Payne, with his jacket covered in four-leaf clovers and his Irish flag hat, was hoping the student section’s “Luck of the Irish” theme would help the team “bring home the gold.”