Pack the M.A.C.C. promotion brings in local teams

Marisa Dalessandro

The M.A.C. Center held 2,274 fans for the women’s basketball game as part of Pack the M.A.C.C. Saturday

Many fans were lured by the special ticket offer of 20 tickets for $20 against the defending MAC Tournament Champion, Eastern Michigan. Saturday was the third Pack the M.A.C.C. promotion in the last three years. It also brought the second-largest crowd. Attendance in the first year of Pack the M.A.C.C. was 3,516.

Several local teams came out to support the Flashes during their 63-60 win.

Jackson Middle School eighth grade girls basketball team was deciding between the Pack the M.A.C.C. game and the Akron game. Coach Gary Cahoon said he was surprised to see the arena crowded.

Holy Family 4th grade girls basketball team was also in attendance. Coach Mike Hoffman was attracted to the event because he said it was a good value and location.

“It’s quality basketball, and they’re a very good team.” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said he would probably bring his team to more games in the future.

Slam Sisters, a fifth and sixth grade girls basketball team from Mantua, jumped up and down during the Flashes dramatic second half and even brought posters with them. The Slam Sisters said they will definitely come to more games after the experience they had.

Coach Ron Howard and assistant coach Donn Johnson thought it would be beneficial for their team to come to the game.

“It’s an opportunity to see good basketball and encourage the girls to hopefully achieve this level someday,” Johnson said.

Kent State’s win over Eastern Michigan had the large crowd on the edge of their seats. The two teams remained close through the final half of play.

Melissa DeGrate’s crucial 3-pointer with 44 seconds left had fans jumping up and down. The score gave Kent State a 61-57 lead and gave the pep band a reason to throw confetti. Soon, the whole section was tearing up newspaper and throwing it.

“The games we have left are very crucial. The crowd helped us but basically it was our team. It was a big game to win,” junior point guard Malika Willoughby said.

Willoughby went on to say while it was nice to see the extra fans at the game, she appreciates the regulars in attendance.

“Our fans are dedicated. We can always hear them over anyone else.”

The Flashes are averaging 1,105 fans in attendance this season.

Contact sports correspondent Marisa Dalessandro at [email protected].