The Hound Dome cracks me up.
That place was packed Friday night to see the Fort Madison girls give No. 15 Keokuk all they wanted, and then watched the boys keep the Chiefs from an outright Southeast Conference title sticking them with a 57-41 loss.
The basketball was some of the best we’ve seen all year and that’s at the right time with post-season for all four squads around the corner. That post-season environment could be a lot of fun this year with some really good teams in the area.
I think a Benda kid won the duck-chuck, a goofy contest where people buy rubber ducks and then throw the toys at a disc in the middle of the court. The kid threw the duck from the back of a student section that was literally destructive in support of their fellow Bloodhounds.
The Hounds students, anchored around one Hayden Segoviano, had fat heads on sticks of Bloodhound basketball players and lit up the pre-game introductions with cellphone light beams.
A Bloodhound player who likes to demonstratively indicate that the opposing players are “whining” about calls, got a warning from an official while he sat on the bench. Then immediately found the official and apologized when he got in the game.
Announcer Matt Rump has started a new tradition where he calls out the first name of the Bloodhound making a basket, so the student section can shout out the last name. It started with Hunter - CRESS-WELL, but has migrated to Carson RA-SHID and Leif BOE-DING. I think it only works with double syllable surnames.
It's also cool to hear him call out Pen City Current 3-POINTER! But that’s a result of a little quid pro quo and a donation to the Athletic Boosters. But it’s fun nonetheless.
You knew the game was going to be good when a really good group of Keokuk kids came into the gym. You knew it was going to be even better when the Keokuk boys' conference title hopes were on the line, and it was proven that it was going to be really good when the student section collapsed the front row of the bleachers jumping up and down on them. No one was hurt fortunately as it was the very first row and they were standing on it. And jumping on it. With the frenetic pace of the game, it’s lucky they held out until the second half.
School officials scrambled to prop up the broken bleacher while cheerleaders worked a dance routine in the foreground.
The place was packed and they ran out of Orange or Red Gatorade, the only flavor John Bohnenkamp will drink. He got water. Then I get a bag of popcorn for a couple bucks and this bag was loaded. It was not the typical white paper bags, it was a larger brown sack and had waaaaaaay more popcorn than I’m used to. I hope it doesn’t violate any rules but I let some people share in the extra popcorn that was handed out as the concessionaires ran low on just about everything. Head Coach Ryan Wilson declined saying that his throat gets sore enough yelling, he doesn’t need salty popcorn. O’contraire mon frere. It’s a known fact in the music industry that a little buttered popcorn actually coats the throat therefore allowing louder and, dare I say, more melodic sounds to be produced. Not that Coach Wilson can sing, or, maybe he can. Some weird sounds from Bloodhound locker rooms after games.
The crowd was crazy and it wasn’t just loud and proud. You had your share of parents, fans, and Hound groupies that yelled at the Keokuk fans, the coaches, the players, the refs, and even each other.
It was Crimson and black chaos, mixed with a little purple and gray and it was one of the best nights of the fading winter.
There were even Holy Trinity kids in the stands, including Luke Hellige who broke HTC’s boys scoring mark this week with 45 points. We got a dunk from sophomore Nolan Guzman. He did it on the other side of the gym from where your friendly neighborhood photographer was stationed. So… he owes me one.
It's always a joy to hit the Hound Dome and it always will be. The friendly faces and banter are a welcome reprieve from the quiet nights in the Pen City Current funhouse – But that’s Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at Charles.V@PenCityCurrent.com.
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