“White Out” games push Lee Flames to victory
The two basketball games that took place last Saturday night exceeded expectations of a normal rivalry game. The vibrant successes of the Lee Flames (10-6) and Lady Flames (14-3) were spurred on by a sea of white T-shirts made up of students, faculty, family and alumni. The night, dubbed the “White Out,” resulted in two victories over the Flames' arch rivals: the Shorter Hawks.
“Our team really fed off the crowd tonight,” explained men’s head coach Bubba Smith. “They were the sixth man for us and I think that really helped us open up the big lead and really set the tone for the entire night.”
The annual “White Out” games were started when Lee University took home the Division II Award of Excellence in 2016. The result was a nationally broadcast game for both the men and women on ESPN 3. According to George Starr, long-time director of sports information at Lee University, the Flames ran with the theme because “it makes for an impressive visual effect and intensifies the rambunctious, sporting atmosphere in Walker Arena.”
The phrase “We Are Taller” was printed on the free, white T-shirts given to the first 500 fans to arrive. This phrase comes from a play on words against Lee’s rival.
The Lady Flames bought into the hype and caught fire during the third quarter, putting up 20 points to Shorter’s seven. The Lee team never looked back as they cruised to a 71-55 victory over the Lady Hawks. Maddie Long continued her impressive week, providing a spark off the bench especially during that third quarter. Her numbers and efforts earned her Lee U Female Athlete of the Week.
The men fared similarly as they beat the Hawks by a score of 91-70. The Flames fed off the rowdy student section and a packed Walker Arena that propelled them over their rival. The Lee University Male Athlete of the Week, Ryan Montgomery (G), was competing in his second “White Out” game of his career.
“The atmosphere is crazy. The ‘White Out’ is the best game of the season,” Montgomery said. “This was my first year having my own fathead (in the student section). The game was hyped up a lot throughout the week so we knew we had to come out and play ball.”
Montgomery contributed ten points and was a vocal leader on and off the court. Freshman post player Jason Landman led the team with fifteen points in a convincing GSC win. This win moves the Flames GSC record over .500 with five wins and four losses.
The White Out game tradition is set to continue on next season—most likely against the Shorter Hawks. And the phrase “We Are Taller” is bound to make a more consistent appearance in future sporting events between the two teams.