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Drury Men's Basketball Team Gets a Big Send-Off to the NCAA Division II Championship

Photo Credit: Michele Skalicky

Drury basketball Fans gathered inside the O’Reilly Family Event Center to cheer on the men’s team as they headed off to Atlanta today.  It’s there that, on Sunday, they’ll take on Western Washington in the championship of the NC-Double-A Division II Tournament.

The fans followed them out cheering as the team boarded a shuttle outside the O’Reilly Family Event Center to take players and coaches to the airport.

Elaine McDonald was at the pep rally for the team today—she’s a Drury basketball booster and came to support the team…

"They're so exciting to watch.  They're just such a great team this year--good kids, and it's just really fun watching them have fun," she said.

Five buses filled with Panthers fans will head to Atlanta Saturday to cheer on their team on Sunday.  McDonald will be on one of the buses—so will Rosemary McMasters…

"I've been a long time Drury booster, and I just wanted to send them off. We're really proud of 'em.  They have done really well, and I feel like we're gonna win," she said.

Drury basketball fan Richard Weeden thinks the Panthers have a good chance of winning the Championship.  He and his wife Roberta will be watching the game on TV Sunday…

"It's really a very fine team--really, really exciting," Richard Weeden said.

"I think they're a group of great guys that really deserve this, and, if they play their game, then I think they've got it," Roberta Weeden said.

Besides Drury boosters and older fans, students turned out today, too, to give the Panthers a big send-off.  One of them was freshman Abigail Weller.  She has a dance to attend and the buses leave too early for her to able to go to Atlanta, so she’ll watch the game on television.  She says she came to the pep rally to support team…

"This is actually really exciting, and they're doing so well, and it's really exciting.  One of my friends was like, 'Drury gave up losing for Lent,' so hopefully they keep it going," she said.

Drury defeated South Carolina-Aiken in the semifinals in Louisville last Thursday to make it to the NCAA Division II Championship.

The game will be nationally televised Sunday and starts at 3 pm in Phillips Arena in Atlanta.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.