New El Campo Ricebirds basketball coach Kevin Lewis wanted to add some excitement back into a program that has struggled. At what was dubbed, El Campo’s first annual midnight madness last Saturday night, Lewis accomplished just that.
In front of a crowd between 100-200 people, Lewis and the Ricebirds put on a show.
The basketball team put on a short three-point contest, dunk contest and played two 10-minute live-action scrimmages. Lewis for the night, took off his coaching hat and played MC as he had the crowd laughing, clapping and, most importantly, cheering on his team.
“I was really impressed with the crowd and the people that showed up,” Lewis said. “It meant a lot to me and I know it meant a lot to the guys to see the community show up. Hopefully, we’ll get more people involved.”
Among curious onlookers was football assistant coach and former Ricebird basketball player Derrick Cash who played in the late 1990s.
“It was something new and something good for the community to try and get fans and everyone excited about basketball program so I thought it was good.” Cash said.
To make the night special, the Ricebirds brought out a spotlight and turned out the lights in the gym as Lewis performed an NBA style introduction for his team before kicking off the night. The beefed-up introductions are something he hopes he will be able to carry on during the season.
During the scrimmage, the hard-nosed basketball was not on display as the Ricebirds opted to highlight their offense and show off their athleticism with dunk attempts and layups. They hope the taste of something new will bring people back once the games once the season starts.
El Campo’s first official game will be Friday night at Ricebird Gym against Lamar Consolidated at 6:30 p.m.
The Ricebirds will also play at home next Tuesday night against Santa Fe at 6:30 p.m.