For two seasons after an earthquake destroyed their school in 2011, the Louisa Lions basketball teams went on a very long road trip. They traveled to away games, home games, and even practices. This season, that road trip came to an end.
"It's wonderful, we get to come and we don't have to travel to go to practices as much, and we have our home games here and we love to have the crowd out to support us," says Louisa boy's senior point guard Christopher Robinson.
The 2013-2014 season is the first of two that the Lions will play in a temporary gym on campus, until the new school is built.
"When they told us we're going to play games here, it was originally first we're going to play some games here," boy's basketball head coach Brian Wilson says of the temporary gym. "I was like, 'some is better than none.' And then they said we're going to play them all here. To me it was pretty exciting just to have a home gym."
As excited as the Lions are to have a home floor to call their own, they are most excited about having their home crowd there along with them.
"It's great being able to have people come out and support us on a regular basis, instead of like maybe some people would show up one game and the different people would show up another," said Rebecca Brookman, a junior forward on the girl's team.
"It's hard to motivate these kids to play when nobody is there, especially their peers," added Wilson. "There's nothing like having your peers at a game to make you want to play as hard as you can."
While the Lions are enjoying the crowd support at their home games, there is a limit to the amount of crowd support they can have. The temporary gym has a maximum capacity of 299 people, which means fans have to wait to get in at packed games.
"When we get close to 250, we stop allowing people to come in until five minutes after the varsity game has started," Louisa ticket salesperson Barbara Dandridge explained. "When they come in I keep a count as to how many enter, and if someone leaves out, I have to tally how many leaves out as well."
"I think once we have those rivalry games that everyone wants to come, like our Fluvanna games, and our Orange games and our Charlottesville games, people are going to want to come and see us," said girl's senior center Antonio Comfort. "To have to turn people away will kind of be bad, but it's just something we have to do."
The capacity limit will keep fans waiting to get in to packed games this season, but the Lions are just excited about the opportunity to pack the house and thankful to finally be home.
"It's kind of like a setback because we know we could have more people out," said Robinson. "But at the same time, we're still glad to be back in Louisa, playing our home games here."
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