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George Ferguson Column: It's time to rock the Armory

It's that time of year. It's the time of year when basketball championships are won and lost.

George Ferguson

Sports Editor

It's also the time of year when the Armory Gymnasium really comes alive.

MSU-Northern students cheer on the Lights during the 2012 Frontier Conference men's championship game last March in Havre. The Northern men and women have just five home games left this season, starting with Friday and Saturday's games against Montana Tech and Lewis-Clark State.

Friday and Saturday, the Montana State University-Northern men's and women's basketball teams will be home for a two-game, Frontier Conference home stand. And the stakes couldn't be higher.

The Skylights need to be bounce back from two rough losses on the road last weekend, while the Lights, who are the No. 12 team in the country, look to keep marching towards defending their Frontier title.

And both visiting team's this weekend will present enormous challenges. Both the Montana Tech men and women are very good. The Orediggers are a talented and big. Then comes Saturday night, when the Lewis-Clark State Warriors come calling. The LCSC women are one of the premier stalwarts in the Frontier, and their shockingly bad record this season is just an aberration. The Warriors are good, and they'll give Northern all they can handle.

Meanwhile, the fourth and final game of the weekend just happens to be the NAIA Game of the Week. The Lewis-Clark men are the No. 3 team in the country. The warriors are 18-1, they have great players and they are on a tremendous roll.

And so are the Lights and that makes Saturday night's men's game one of the biggest regular season games to be played in Havre in quite some time.

It's not often that you get two of the best teams in the country battling it out in Havre.

But that's what you have this weekend, and the Lights and Skylights need your help.

Last spring's Frontier playoff games in Havre, both men's and women's, were amazing from a crowd standpoint. Northern fans packed the Armory for every playoff game and were loud, rowdy and certainly inspired.

And that's what the Northern men and women need from here on out. They need the fans to make noise all game long, they need that great home-court atmosphere that fans in Havre and the along the Hi-Line help create.

I've often said that when the atmosphere inside the Armory Gymnasium is at it's best, it's the best college basketball atmosphere in Montana, and that includes the Grizzlies and Bobcats. I truly believe that.

And during last year's playoffs, it truly was at its best. I still get goosebumps when I think about how great the crowds were for the Northern games at the end of last season.

So, I'm hoping Northern fans decide to take that atmosphere and keep it going right now. I'm hoping they don't wait until the playoffs to get crazy.

These are big games in Havre this weekend. In fact, with how deep the Frontier Conference is, every time Northern steps on the floor from here on out, it's a huge game. Add to that, the NAIA Men's Game of the Week is being played inside the grand old Armory Saturday night, and fans have more than enough reasons to unleash that great college basketball atmosphere we have come to know in Havre.

Northern fans are always great. We are lucky to have such a great fan base in Havre. But when they turn it up a notch or two, it becomes truly special. And that's what the Lights and Skylights need this weekend and beyond. They need the fans to be raucous, to be rowdy, to be hostile and to be energized.

The Lights and Skylights will do their part. They'll play hard, they'll play inspired and they'll play well. That, I have no doubt. And they need your help.

This weekend, and for the rest of the season, it's time for fans to bring the noise in Armory Gymnasium. It's time to turn it up a notch.


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