If you were at sold out, jam packed, foot stomping, ear deafening Sutton Gym Tuesday night, you were treated to a drama-filled, classic high school boys basketball game.
They don't get much better.
Just ask the fans of Marietta High and Warren High who were there.
Mind you, now, because there were so many people in attendance, the front doors to the gymnasium were locked. So, if you didn't have a ticket to the contest, you were probably just out of luck.
"There's a lot of colleges that don't play in front of that many people," said Warren head coach Blane Maddox after the Warriors rallied to defeat the Tigers 59-56 in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) showdown between two previously 9-1 teams.
"I don't know how many were here," Maddox continued. "But we were talking about that we need to charge $20 at our place (Vincent) to get all the people in there."
Warren (10-1, 5-1)) is scheduled to host MHS (9-2, 3-2) in Round 2 at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8. And, the game is expected to be another sellout.
"Marietta got a lot of revenue off the Warriors tonight," Maddox said. "It was just a great game."
"I talked to J.D. (Secrest), because we want to continue to play two games," he said. "With games like that, I don't see how we can't.
"Washington County fans deserve it. I thought everyone was under control. It was a great night."
Next year at this time, Marietta will be competing in the East Central Ohio League (ECOL), and its games with Warren will be non-conference.
Even if you were a Marietta fan Tuesday night, you had to maybe grin and know that you at least got your money's worth. After all, the Tigers led for the majority of the contest but just couldn't close the deal as the Warriors staged a dramatic, fourth-quarter comeback to win.
"Warren's an experienced, tournament-tested ballclub," said MHS head coach J.D. Secrest. "And, that's kind of the way they expect to respond.
"We're getting there. You know, our effort tonight would've beaten a lot of teams."
"We're extremely proud of the young men we have out there," the Tiger boss continued. "We (MHS coaching staff) told them that whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. In the last seven days, we've become a pretty strong ballclub. We just need to regroup."
Marietta is slated to host Gallia Academy in an SEOAL game at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
So how loud really was Sutton Gym Tuesday night?
Let's just say that if Metallica had been playing on the public address system, you probably couldn't have heard the music.
"This might be the loudest gym I've ever played in," said Warren senior star Austin Cunningham, who scored a team-high 17 points to help in the comeback.
"The Marietta student section is pretty vocal in there," continued Cunningham, smiling. "I just tried to zone them out."
Thing is, both school's student sections were very entertaining. It was almost like "dueling student sections."
For example, when the Marietta kids began chanting "MHS! MHS! MHS!" or "Let's go Tigers! Let's go Tigers!" the Warren crowd responded, "Let's go blue! Let's go blue!"
Early in the second quarter, Warren standout Grant Venham missed a free-throw completely, and the Tiger student section let him have it with the ubiquitous, "Airball! Airball!"
It didn't seem to bother Venham, though, because he swished his second attempt.
Then, whenever Marietta's Wes Riley - who was honored before the opening tipoff as the only boys soccer player in the history of the program to earn first-team All-Ohio accolades - did something positive on the hardwood, like hitting a buzzer-beating 25-footer at the end of the first quarter, the Tiger student section screamed, "All-Ohio! All-Ohio! All-Ohio!"
Riley even got it when he turned the ball over or missed a shot, because the Warren kids responded in a sarcastic tone, "All-Ohio! All-Ohio! All Ohio!"
Late in the third quarter, after Warren's Tyler Ward was fouled hard but cleanly in the lane by Marietta's Braden Riley, the Tiger section opened up with "He's a freshman! He's a freshman!"
Riley, the younger brother of Wes, is of course an MHS frosh basketball player.
All in all, everyone there seemed to have a good time, and enjoyed a good, old-fashioned, hard-fought rivalry game.
Afterwards, Maddox said he was very impressed with the "good sportsmanship" exhibited by the Warriors and Tigers.
"Both teams competed and had hard fouls," the Warren coach said. "But everything was under control. It was just aggressive, good Washington County basketball."
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at email@example.com