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BRIDGEPORT – It’s a good thing the criminals didn’t get word of where most of Patoka’s residents were last Wednesday.
A large contingent of fans made the nearly two-hour 87-mile drive to Red Hill High School to watch their high school basketball team’s sectional contest against Dieterich, filling one half of a large gym.
“You probably could have robbed the whole town,” said coach Joey Eddy.
The Warriors, who enjoyed their first sectional appearance in 25 years, brought quite the following to Bridgeport, outnumbering the crowd from Dieterich, which only had to drive 53 miles to the game.
Loud crowds became a staple of Patoka basketball throughout the season, as the Warriors went 23-7 and never lost a game by more than seven points before last Wednesday’s 61-39 drubbing by the Movin’ Maroons.
“I told our guys, ‘You look at that crowd, because you guys have brought a community together,’” Eddy said. “‘You’re going to smile, because you’re going to see people and family members who have never come to games.’”
Patoka, population 650, made a big splash at the championship game of the Mulberry Grove Regional on Feb. 28, filling half of that gym and part of the other side, helping will the Warriors to a 68-61 win against Odin.
And while the crowd wasn’t as much of a factor against Dieterich, all involved with the team were thankful for the support.
“There was 70-80 people here before we knew what happened,” Eddy said. “We probably had 200 people here before Dieterich’s bus got here.
“It was pretty cool to see that many people here.”