Finally, a high school game atmosphere to shout about

There have been some good high school events in the first near five-months of the school year.

Some soccer tournament games that went down to shootouts, including title contests. The Merrimack-Nashua North overtime Division I football quarterfinal in the mud.

But so far, the vote here is for Friday night’s Alvirne-Bishop Guertin boys basketball game.

Why? For the first time in a long time around here, the crowd on both sides was into it.

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen that, especially at Guertin’s Colligadome. The place was packed. Perhaps the fact it was a Friday night helped, but we haven’t seen that kind of crowd even for the boy-girl BG-North/South hoop doubleheaders of the past, Friday or not.

“Great crowd,” Alvirne coach Marty Edwards said. “Usually when we play (the Cardinals), we get a pretty good crowd. And I figured it would be a pretty good crowd. I knew our kids would be here.

“It was great. Great atmosphere. Great ballgame. Great way to come back.”

Guertin had its pep band playing. That adds to it. Hollis Brookline often has their musicians playing in one corner of the gym during games, which is great,even if the crowd in the stands isn’t all that large.

But Friday night was spectacular. The student crowd was into it but well behaved. A lot of times administrators are cautious and that’s led to some subdued crowds over the years. You know, the kind that when a team is at the free throw line you can hear a pin drop. Boring. Too often that more or less gets rid of the home court advantage.

But last Friday night, you had the good mix of kids having fun in a good way yet cheering every play. The best was late, when players from both teams went to the line for crucial free throws in a tight game. Noise. When Alvirne’s Jamie Bertrand and Paul Manzi were at the line in the final three minutes in a tight, tight game, there was certainly no silence on the part of the home crowd. That’s the way it’s supposed to be, yet as we’ve noted so many times in the past, that’s the exception rather than the rule around here.

Of course it helped that the game became tight as a drum. As you may know by now, Alvirne’s Ryan Weston hit the game winner with 3.5 left on the clock, but Guertin’s Andrew Aruka somehow got a great look from the foul line but front rimmed a runner at the buzzer. In a way it’s too bad because this thing deserved bonus minutes, even though it wasn’t an offensive showcase. Edwards said it was due to the intensity, and the defense that intensity led to.

He may as well have said it was the crowd.

We should get an atmosphere like this when Nashua North and South play each other in a doubleheader on Feb. 1.

No matter where, all we can say is this:

Give us more.

Tom King can be reached at 594-1251,