Fans sound off to ensure side presses home advantage
"Missy, missy, chocolate fishy," was perhaps the best call of the national secondary school basketball tournament in Nelson and it was owned by the Maroon Mist, Nayland College supporters crew.
At their peak, attending the Nayland College AA semifinal against Rosmini College, almost 100 red and blue clad lads and lasses, including former and current students packed the stands at Trafalgar Centre to cheer their team.
The masses came prepared as well. Body paint to display their colours, old basketball uniforms to represent, chants to gee up the boys on court and a plethora of material to distract and detract from the opposition's game.
Horns, megaphones and chants were all aimed at the opposition, to stifle their flow. The chocolate fishy call and horns along with a more traditional "he won't get it" accompanied any opposition free throw.
The megaphone was far more direct. An understated and solitary voice plainly calling "Kevin . . . Kevin . . . Kevin," constantly Kevin through Rosmini's timeout was a comical way to distract their coach Kevin Goodwin. As was the call "you can't do that, that's a foul."
However, Nayland didn't have it all their own way, and being the largest and the loudest always attracts the detractors. As it was, it seemed every neutral fan from other colleges banded together to support the team playing Nayland.
One of the central figures in organising the Maroon Mist, Blayne Wanoa-Comnons, said the other chanters just made it more interesting.
"We knew it was going to happen because there were so many of us the other colleges would just get in behind whoever we were playing.
"It was just about getting in behind the boys and supporting them. We had a bit of a Facebook group and before games we would just meet at someone's house and get kitted out and painted up and head down.
"The [Nayland College] sports co-ordinators handed out Nayland College basketball uniforms and most people had their own gear but we also got stuff from the $2 Shop like paint and horns, some people bought gas horns and Mitchell Ross bought a $125 megaphone."
Scott Cameron, Nayland College's basketball captain was responsible for creating the Facebook event that started off the avalanche of support. It was then helped along by many others including Blayne, former student Taylar Davidson and sports co-ordinators Julie Dempster and Brendan Crichton along with many others.
"After playing Otago down in Otago with their fans, we thought we should do whatever we can to get people involved here in Nelson.
"By the end of the tournament, we had about 150 people who said they would be going, confirmed on the [Facebook] page and messages of support from people who weren't.
"The support was incredible; it makes you really proud to come from Nayland College. It was amazing to see everyone out there and it just made you want to play harder for them."
Nayland College finished fourth in New Zealand in the AA grade (more than 600 on a co-ed role), equalling the school's best result, while Lachlan Campion made the tournament team."
After five years with the senior boys' basketball team, Campion was confident Nayland College basketball would continue to thrive. "We have had two really good top four finishes in the last three years so we are starting to build a heritage at the school and a bit of history.
"With only two starters leaving hopefully the three of them [remaining] can step up along with new boys coming through."
If you have a secondary school sports story that you'd like to see in the Nelson Mail, contact sports reporter Jonathan McKeown: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 03 546 2873.