Pirate Madness showcases multitude of talents
It turns out the Porterville College volleyball team aren’t the only ones who can put on a show.
The Pirates’ men’s and women’s basketball teams introduced themselves in style Thursday night inside of a packed gym on campus.
The 600-plus in attendance were treated to a few dancing performances from local cheerleaders and hip hop dance teams, activities in which a few crowd members participated and, of course, some good old-fashioned hardwood action. All of the entertainment translated into a successful first Pirate Madness, the brain child of new athletic director Eric Mendoza.
“It was very exciting,” said Dave Kavern, who coaches the women’s team. “I thought it was a great idea by Eric, and we had a great turnout.”
Midway through the event, two lines of cheerleaders ushered the arrival of Kavern’s squad, one by one emerging from the doors through jets of smoke and dancing their way to the front of the crowd.
The women went on to showcase their shooting skills in a 3-point shooutout, which was won by former Monache Marauder Chantal Crouzet, a sophomore Pirates guard.
Then it was the men’s turn. Again, the lights were turned out and the music amped as the players also hammed it up to the crowd’s delight.
Oscar Velasquez then took the men’s shootout and went head to head against Crouzet, who defeated him, 24-21, as her last shot fell through the net at the buzzer. Displaying good sportsmanship, Crouzet refrained from the trash talk.
“It felt good,” said Crouzet, who once won a 3-point shooutout among all high school girls in the Valley. “But those guys are my friends and I’ve known some of them since the fourth grade.”
Through a series of alley-oops, including one that was tossed some 40 feet from the balcony above the rafters, Karrmell Stone capped the climax of the night by winning the slam-dunk contest.
“A couple of ‘em I came up with on the spot,” said Stone, who estimated he had 30 minutes to come up with dunks that day, “Eric gave me the balcony idea but the others I came up with because I really didn’t expect to be in the final round.”
Stone, a sophomore from Long Beach, wished the school had an event like Pirate Madness to kick off the season last year.
“I think it was good,” he said. “It brings people out from the community to see the teams and it makes people wanna come out and see the games.”
Performers in attendance included McDermont Cheer Squad, Sensations Baton and Dance Company, Burton Middle School Majorettes, the Porterville Twirlerettes, Sweetheart Superstar Cheer and Pom Squad and Positive Phlo.
“It was a successful event for us,” Mendoza said afterward. “Now we know what to expect and how we can make it better for the next year. I think our student athletes really appreciated all the support of the fans and the people in the community.
“Hopefully, some of those people have seen what are athletes are all about — that they’re good, happy-go-lucky kids — and they keep coming back to support them in the games.”