Green House Numbers Best in the Nation

KSCB News - January 30, 2013 6:20 am

With a combined record of 18-4 at home this season the
Seward County Lady Saints and Saints certainly deserve a pat on the back
from the fans that come to the Greenhouse every Wednesday and Saturday
night to watch them play. But, that might cause some bruises on the
backs of the Seward County players if they are getting patted by each of
the 1400+ people that have flocked to the Greenhouse each night for the
Saints and Lady Saints games this season. Through the midway point of
the 2013 season, Seward County currently leads the nation in attendance
for their Women’s games, and ranks a close second in Men’s attendance
per home contest.

The Lady Saints have averaged 1402 fans per game this
season through 10 home dates, blowing away the competition in the
attendance category. "For 20 years, this community has attended games
at Seward County well and is appreciative of the quality of kids we are
putting on the floor, the overall entertainment product, and winning
every year certainly helps" Seward County Women’s Head Coach Toby Wynn
said. The Lady Saints fan base has grown to record numbers in large
part due to the connection that many fans feel with the Seward players.
Following games in the Greenhouse, you can find the Lady Saint players
milling around the crowd during the Men’s games, or taking pictures and
signing autographs in the hallways. Seward sophomore Anete Kirsteine
said when asked about the Lady Saint crowds "it feels like you are
playing in the Olympics when you play in the Greenhouse." The Latvian
born sophomore also said "the pressure during your first few games is so
heavy because you have 1500 people watching you. But when you get
comfortable playing with all of the fans that are pulling for you, it
makes it hard playing at some other places when there are only 200
people there." The Lady Saints largest home crowd of the 2013 season
thus far came in their conference opener on January 5th when 1950 fans
converged on the Greenhouse to watch Seward take on Jayhawk West rival
Barton. Seward has four more Jayhawk West Conference home dates in the
2013 season and the possibility of up to two Region VI Tournament
playoff dates before the end of the 2013 campaign.

The Saints Men’s team ranks second nationally in
attendance this season. Seward has averaged 1421 screaming fans per
game through 12 games in the Greenhouse. "Our fans give us such a home
court advantage" Saints Head Coach Bryan Zollinger said. "It gets so
loud in there during close games and our players really feed off the
support" he continued. Seward packed in 2100 fans Saturday night for
their Jayhawk West game against Butler, a game in which the Greenhouse
decibel level rose significantly during the final moments of a 71-67
Saints win. In past years, crowds for the Men’s games have tended to
die off as the games went along, with the Lady Saints drawing more than
the Saints each of the past three years. That trend has changed through
recently as a new group of crowd pleasers have found their way onto the
Seward roster. One player that Greenhouse fans will certainly never
forget with his 6 ’10 frame and colorful personality is Edson Avila.
Now a sophomore and a fan favorite, Avila introduced himself to the
Seward faithful during last season’s Basketball Preview Night, flying
high over a pair of mesmerized youngsters in a Superman cape for a slam
dunk during the nights dunk contest. The big man one-upped himself this
season when he ‘hid’ in the crowd disguised as an elderly woman before
gingerly walking down the stairs and throwing down a two handed slam in
the contest. "It is great to be in a place where everyone knows your
name" the highly recruited forward said. "To walk out of the locker
room and see everyone standing and getting ready to watch us put on a
show, really gets us hyped for the game" he continued. The Saints will
have a chance this season to break the 25,000 fan mark for a season.
They will need an average of 1,837 per game to do it during their four
more regular season home games or could help their chances of sneaking
by the mark with up to two home playoff games this season.

Standing in his perch high atop the Greenhouse floor for
the past 29 seasons as the Seward County Athletic Director, Galen
McSpadden has had a pretty good view of the crowds that have come in and
out of the Greenhouse throughout the course of time. "It just makes us
very proud to see that the community thinks this much of us year in and
year out" McSpadden said. "We haven’t always had the best teams, but we
nearly always have the best support" he continued. "It is funny to see
the looks on people’s faces who think Liberal is just a little old town
out in the sticks before they come into the Greenhouse and see the
turnout we get for our games" he said.

Seward will return home to the Greenhouse on Wednesday,
February 6th when they host Colby at 6:00 & 8:00.


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