Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

Peyton supporters quickly help transform school to support girls' hoops voyage

By: Kevin Carmody, The Gazette
March 11, 2014 Updated: March 12, 2014 at 4:49 pm
0
photo - The Peyton girls basketball team huddles before practice Tuesday, March 11, 2014, as they prepare for the quarterfinals of the 2A State playoffs in at Colorado State University-Pueblo Thurday. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
The Peyton girls basketball team huddles before practice Tuesday, March 11, 2014, as they prepare for the quarterfinals of the 2A State playoffs in at Colorado State University-Pueblo Thurday. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock) 

This season, spanning more than three months and 24 games, certainly has tested the mettle and courage of the Peyton girls' basketball team.

At 23-1, the Panthers passed the regular season and district tournament with an unqualified superior grade.

But it wasn't until late Tuesday that the entire school could actually celebrate Peyton's achievement and consecutive 2A state tournament appearances.

The annual Transitional Colorado Assessment Program, fondly known as TCAPs, still takes precedence.

"Testing comes first, since they are students before athletes," Peyton athletic director Tim Van Sickler said. "Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the final TCAP day, and it's also spirit day. All the kids can dress up in red and black, and we're going to give the girls a great sendoff to state."

Late Tuesday, Peyton's cheerleaders finally could start the task of turning their school into a black-and-red paradise, one that the Panthers could use as a motivational force heading into their 8:45 a.m. Thursday tipoff against Hoehne (21-1) at Massari Arena on the campus of Colorado State-Pueblo.

Behind the scenes, scores of students broke out markers, paint and glitter. By early Wednesday, the small school 24 miles east of Colorado Springs should have had a much different look.

"We put together three banners that will be in the school, and we've worked hard transforming the school to get the girls pumped up," said Jennifer Miller, the Panthers' cheerleading coach and adviser. "During testing, you can't have any interruptions or anyone in the hallways. We've been waiting for this."

So, too, has the basketball team. Last March, the Panthers made a long-awaited return to the state tournament and downed Sangre de Cristo in the quarterfinals, ending a three-decade drought.

On Thursday, the Panthers hope to start a journey that will last into Saturday night. A Peyton girls' program has never won a state championship in school history, which dates all the way back to 1888.

And with the early tip-off, school administration decided to give Peyton a day off Thursday to hopefully give its team a decided home-court advantage.

"I was pretty surprised that we canceled school so our friends can be at our game," said Panthers junior guard Emily Green, who ranks among the tops in 3-pointers. "People are really excited here. We're not the tallest or biggest, but we want to get our name out there and show everyone what we're about."

That's where the cheerleaders take the lead, not only in decorating the school with banners, but giving their personal touch to the team bus when it departs first thing Thursday morning.

"While our transformation of the school is somewhat minimal, we have huge amounts of spirit," said Miller, in the third year at her position

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

Some news is free.
Exceptional journalism takes time, effort and your support.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.