Men’s basketball slam dunks into new season


Erica Kelble

Seniors Ryan Sheehan and Allen Bryant throw their hands up in their air and lead a chant during the basketball rally. The rally was held on Nov. 13 to raise excitement for the upcoming basketball season.

The ball flies in the air and lands in the net. The score turns 4-3 with the Patriots in the lead. The Patriot Pit student section erupts, and rolls of toilet paper fly through the air, unraveling as the newly-made streamers sail across the gym.

On Nov. 17, the varsity men’s basketball played Chapelgate Christian. It was the first of a series of themed games for the newly-christened student section, the Patriot Pit. This time, it was “TP Streamers.”

The team scored two points in free throws, but students didn’t launch the toilet paper until the first official basket was made.

“I was standing in the back, so seeing people throw it was really cool,” senior Madison Taylor said.

The themed Patriot Pit is part of head coach Tony Martin’s initiative to foster spirit for the basketball program. The movement kicked off with the Pep Rally, scrimmage, and Meet and Greet Party on Nov. 13.

“[The goal of the Pep Rally was] to pull the student body together, [to] create school spirit, and to have a lot of fun,” Martin said.

“[The Pep Rally] was sweet,” senior Noelle Correll said. “I loved how they brought in the students to be with the basketball players because I feel like they get excluded a lot.”

The Pep Rally included the opening of the Patriot Pit, three-point shooting and dunk contests, a scrimmage, and a Meet and Greet Party in the Brown Room.

“It was fun,” sophomore Heather Lanphar said. “The dunk contest was really fun to watch.”

Martin also taught the Patriot Pit a set of seven cheers and sent an email with links to them so that students could learn on their own. You can watch and learn them here.

“It was fun. The crowd really liked it,” senior small forward Mateus Maccieri said. “We’re glad it was successful and the coaches and players enjoyed it.”

The Patriot Pit and new festivities are all a part of Martin’s plan to create a more collegiate atmosphere at the basketball games. As a former coach at Towson University and a college basketball fan, Martin understands how a crowd can influence the outcome of the game.

“The response from the students was great,” Martin said. “They seemed excited for the upcoming season and all the events we have planned.”

In Martin’s 10 years coaching at JC, this is the first year that the team had its own Pep Rally. JC has only hosted one other winter season Pep Rally in Martin’s tenure, but that was in 2006. Ultimately, his goal is to make it an annual event.

Additionally, Martin believes that this new spirit will strengthen how the game is viewed at the school.

“[We wanted] to represent the school well by playing the game in the right way and in a first class manner,” Martin said. “And [we wanted] to have a fun brand of basketball [so that] students of all interest levels can come out and have a good time.”

In order to create the college-like atmosphere and to draw student interest, Martin has created a series of themed games and events that will occur at each of the men’s team’s home games. For example, during half-time, there will be games of musical chairs, scattered shoes, dance-offs, and shooting contests.

Lanphar agrees that these new activities will increase the spirit at the basketball games. “It’s going to help, but I don’t know how many people it’ll actually bring out,” Lanphar said.

Martin is excited about how the new activities will affect the season. According to Martin, “I think it’ll help bond the student-athletes and the student body, and help foster relationships.”

Angela DeCarlo is the Stories Chief for The Patriot and