COLUMBIA — The crowd in Silverthorne Arena for Stephens College's first home basketball game Friday night was full of parents, children and students. Many of the players are from surrounding areas, making it easy for their families to attend games.
However, one group of fans stood out in the crowd. Haley Kahrs, a freshman for the Stars, had a fan club of four girls from her high school basketball team come to cheer her on in her first home game.
The girls drove in from Smithton and, despite having car troubles after hitting a hay bale that fell off a truck, made it to the game early in the first half. The girls screamed in delight when Kahrs sank a 3-pointer shortly after they arrived. They even brought a sign to support Kahrs that read "Go Haley!" with a number 2 for Kahrs' jersey.
"It's nice to have a crowd here because I know we don't have much of a crowd here sometimes,” Kahrs said. "And I miss them."
The crowd Friday night cheered the Stars to a 67-45 victory over Central Methodist University’s junior varsity team. Though the Stars were satisfied with a win, Coach Bill Bixon said the team has a lot to work on.
"We'll do two or three really good things and then we won't finish the play," Bixon explained. "We won't score, so our shooting percentage went way down in the second half."
Bixon knows that the players love having the crowd there to cheer for them, even when they make mistakes.
"When you come in and play for a crowd and you play for people that you care about, that have helped give you that opportunity, they really step up," he said. "They want to show all the hard work that they put in every single day."
"It pumps you up. It gets you going and makes you wanna play harder," Kahrs said.
The Stars will play their next home game at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Central Methodist.