Thanks to an anonymous donor, many Carroll County High School students will be able to travel to and take in the Cavaliers’ Group AA state quarterfinal on Saturday at the Salem Civic Center free of charge.
On Wednesday, CCHS Principal Chuck Thompson got a call from a person he would not name who donated enough money to send a bus full of kids to the state quarterfinal with the $10 ticket charge already paid for. The Cavaliers will take on E.C. Glass in the state quarterfinals in Carroll County’s first state tournament appearance since 1991. Carroll also won the program’s regional championship since 1980 on Saturday with a 66-48 win over Salem in front of a packed house in Hillsville.
“This person called me and just kind of took me off my feet a little bit,” Thompson said. “That was such a nice thing for someone to do because they understand this hasn’t happened in such a long time. With the gym filling up the way it did the other night (against Salem) and the previous night (against Magna Vista), we have to keep this thing going.”
Thompson said the school would use the money to try to fill up one bus to send students to the game free of charge. If the need arises for a second bus, he said funds may be available for another free bus. That is still to be determined, he said. Thompson said the school is currently offering the transportation and tickets to CCHS students on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“We will have a lot of people going with their parents or with friends, and driving their own personal vehicles down, too. It is a big event for the school obviously, and the community, so we expect a lot of people there. But right now the bus is just for students,” Thompson said.
Everybody is still talking about the huge crowd at the regional championship game Saturday between Salem and Carroll County. Every seat in the house was filled and many spectators were standing along the walls of the gym and up and down the steps. Thompson said he figures there were about 1,500 fans at the game, possibly more.
“I’m not sure how we would have really fit any more people in. There was talk on twitter encouraging fans to get there early, and that was certainly the case. People were getting here at 5:30 and 6 p.m., a full hour-and-a-half before the game,” Thompson said. “And the other coaches noticed too. We talked to one of Salem’s coaches yesterday and Coach (Brad) Hawks talked to Magna Vista’s coach and Salem’s head coach, and they were just amazed by the fan support. They were wondering how they could get that kind of support at their schools, which says a lot about our student section.”
Thompson hopes the Carroll County faithful will keep the trend going this Saturday at the Salem Civic Center.
“Salem might have more fans there because they have a boys’ and girls’ team playing, but my guess is the way this community has come together and the way everybody has been supporting the team, it wouldn’t shock me at all if we are the largest traveling group to enter the Civic Center,” Thompson said.