After many delays, WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic championship games tip-off

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Published: Feb. 8, 2021 at 6:45 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - COVID-19 and snowstorms have postponed the WYMT Food City Mountain Basketball Classic but we finally made it to championship night.

For more than 30 years, fans have packed the stands for the tournament, especially on championship night.

“To be able to get out here and get these fans behind the girls no matter which team it is it’s a big boost for both of them,” said Floyd Central fan Jason Lance.

This year, fans were nervous they would not be able to cheer on their teams in person due to limited attendance.

“I was really upset because grandparents gonna fall down on the list but so far I’ve got to watch all the games,” said Tammy Sizemore, a grandmother of two of the North Laurel players. “I’m very proud of them. They’re great kids they’re all great. They’ve come through so much and they’ve overcome a lot but they play well as team and we’re just real proud of them.”

While only a couple hundred people filled the stands, the fans made sure their teams could hear them as they cheered them on every step of the way.

“We’ve been through a rough time since last year, and it’s been a long time since we’ve saw each other as friends and teammates and gatherings,” said Harlan County student athlete Bradley Halcomb.

Cheerleaders were not allowed on the court this year, but the Knox Central team still made the trip for the championship night.

“I’ve cheered all four years at the WYMT. It’s something I always look forward to. We won it last year and I was hoping to win it again this year but we didn’t get to cheer, said senior cheerleader Makayla Hinkle.

They cheered their team to victory, from the stands.

“It’s very quiet without the cheerleaders. I really wish we were out there to be behind our boys,” said Hinkle.

While the teams wished for bigger fan sections, coaches are just glad they were able to compete for the Mountain Classic title.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to get used to that. That’s going to be the new norm for this year and I think our girls are starting to get used to it but it still hurts. I wish our girls could experience that,” said North Laurel Head Coach Eddie Maham.

”You want your student body here and you want them here supporting your school but I mean at this point you’ll take whatever you can get. We’d play in an empty gym right now if that’s what it took to play,” said Floyd Central Head Coach Justin Triplett.

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