Catamount basketball falls into action with Catamount Madness

WCU backetball kicks off the season. Photo by Gavin Stewart.

WCU basketball kick-off the season, Oct. 24. 2016. Photo by Gavin Stewart.

Students of Western Carolina flooded into the Ramsey center on Monday night to kick-off Homecoming week and to celebrate the beginning of the Catamount basketball season.

“This is an event we really look forward to as a team to kick-off the start our basketball season,” said Larry Hunter, head coach of the men’s basketball team.

The night began with a remarkable performance of the Star Spangled Banner by Mountain Faith Band, as well as some pep tunes performed by the Pride of the Mountains marching band.

The lights shut off in Ramsey to create suspense before the women’s basketball team made their appearance. One by one, they ran into the spotlight to make their first impression on the season.

“I expect us to be really strong. With the way we have been practicing and the way we’ve played in the pre-season we’ve been so much stronger,” said Julia Brown, a power forward for WCU women’s team.

The men’s team received just as much hype from the fans as the lights in Ramsey shut off leaving only the spotlight on the middle of the court. As each player was announced, the crowd began chanting “Western” slowly like at a basketball home game.

WCU Drum line rocked Ramsey during the WCU basketball kick-off of Homecoming week, Oct. 24 2016. Photo by Gavin Stewart.

WCU  Purple Drumline rocked Ramsey during the Catamount basketball kick-off of Homecoming week, Oct. 24 2016. Photo by Gavin Stewart.

The dance team did routines throughout the night to get the crowd on their feet, and the WCU cheerleaders made it seem like a Catamount game day with their execution of cheers and basket tosses.  The WCU Purple Drumline also made an appearance with an exhilarating performance on the Ramsey court.

It wouldn’t have been a Homecoming event without getting to meet the 2016 Homecoming court. The potential kings and queens walked on to the Ramsey floor and greeted the fans for their few moments of fame.

Little did the fans know, but the Catamount basketball teams would actually be competing for fun. The teams went head-to-head in games like knockout, a 3-point contest, and a dunk contest.

The crowd was able to get involved too.

Each Catamount basketball player was able to bring a student from the crowd to participate in knockout. One student made it to the last six people on the court. A name was drawn from a bucket with names of students in the crowd to win a $100 gift card with a 3-point throw. He was not able to make the throw, but he still won his gift card with a lay-up.

“Tonight helped the team just by seeing that there is already support here for them,” said Stephanie McCormick, head coach for the women’s basketball team. “The students coming out and the band coming out made all of the difference in the world.”