Monday, December 19, 2011

The toughest gym to play

Our fine county has a wide assortment of gyms, from the old to the new.

There is the almost brand new facility at Spiro and the old gym at Cameron.

During one of my recent trips to a county game, I started thinking about which gym truly gives its team the best home-court advantage.

From a win-loss percentage, this is a no-brainer. Howe’s girls have never lost a game at home since they moved into the new gym.

But that record isn’t built on the fact the gym is any tougher than any other to play in, instead, that’s because Howe’s girls have seldom lost anywhere over the last few years because the Lady Lions have been so good.

It is a nice facility, but not one other teams dread playing at for any reason other than how good the Lady Lions are at playing basketball.

For me, the toughest place to play as a visitor would be Cameron. It is an old WPA building, built back in the 1920s or 30s and there just aren’t many teams playing in a facility like this.

The crowd is right on top of you and the court seems smaller than others, mainly because there isn’t any room along with sidelines or the baselines. Old wooden stands, an old court which has stood the test of time well, but was old back when I played there in the 1970s.

It doesn’t hold a huge crowd, but when it is packed, it gets cranking.

Another tough place to play is Pocola. This is another facility which hasn’t changed much over the years. The crowd is right on top of you and can be intimidating, as many others teams have discovered over the years.

Spiro’s new gym is easily the most comfortable facility of any of the county facilities. All chair-back seats and a huge scoreboard hanging down at the center of the court. But the crowd is back from the court. It is by far the best place for me to take photographs at in the county. Good lighting and enough room that I don’t have to worry about getting stepped on by officials or players.

The best crowd atmosphere for high school games were the finals at Carl Albert State College, back before the facility was downsized and the big games of the LCT were moved to UAFS for a couple of years and then Spiro.

No empty seats in the building and people packed like sardines behind both baskets. It was always hot, loud and a fire marshall’s worst nightmare.

The facilities at UAFS and Spiro are much nicer, of course, but it just isn’t the same. The Mick Thompson gym at CASC is nicer now after the remodel, except it isn’t big enough to hold the games any more.

I just wish the new Donald W. Reynolds facility in Poteau had been configured to hold about 3,000 for a basketball game. But it isn’t and with the way the economy is, we have to play with the hand that is dealt to us.

It is always better to have a neutral site and Poteau is more centrally located.

Share your thoughts on the toughest place to play by leaving a comment.

1 comment:

  1. Well for me playing just a couple seasons ago the toughest place to win was at Red Oak. I know its not in the county but it was a pain plus Howe vs Red Oak is a good game. You should right a blog about biggest rivals