Going wild for Gowanda

Students show support in Panthers’ Sixth Man section

OBSERVER Photo by Andrew David Kuczkowski Gowanda’s Sixth Man student section stands and cheers Jan. 4 as the Panthers varsity boys basketball team plays Portville.

GOWANDA — The homefield advantage is lost for some high schools as attendance is low and noise is minimal.

Not for the Gowanda Panthers.

An entire section is dedicated to the Sixth Man as students at the school support the Panthers, whether that be vocally or by volume of students. The impact was like no other on Jan. 4 as basketball star Nate Brawdy broke the school’s record for all-time points scored.

From being loud to being simply noticed, the students were rambunctious, to say the least.

“It’s just crazy. In high school, not many people are going to go all the way,” said Nick Siragusa, a student coordinator of the group. “You got to have fun in high school. Having the whole crowd here, just making them feel special, it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Along with Siragusa, Mayson Phillips and Jacob Hostetter assist the group as it now has a shirt and unity.

“This is a pretty good team that we have over the last four years, when I was the student section leader,” Siragusa said. “And because we are winning, the crowd just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Athletic Director Joe Bruening noted that the group began by the students but grew this season. Rather than being just a cheering squad of students, they asked for more recognition in the gym.

“It was very organic,” Bruening said. “They wanted a section for themselves, a student section just like colleges. They asked me if we can do that and I said, ‘We’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.’ I just asked them to keep things positive and show good sportsmanship.”

And though kids will be kids and the words said cannot be censored prior to it happening, the end result is a packed crowd and school support. Both of those are hard to come by.

“I think it makes a huge difference for the kids out on the court,” Bruening said. “It’s great for the student body to come out and support.”

Twitter: @Kuczkowski95