SAC Sound-off: The Sixth Man

February 14, 2012

It's double overtime and your legs are exhausted. The score is tied with 10 seconds left. Your team needs that key play to win the game. It’s do-or-die, and all the while there are fans screaming so loud your ears are ringing.

I don’t know about you, but most athletes get a much-needed boost in adrenaline when they hear this. I know I have.

Crowd noise plays a huge factor in deciding the outcome of the game. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that “double-overtime buzzer-beater” moment. Steady cheering throughout the game can help a team gain momentum and push through while the other team is near exhaustion.

Once in a while, when I’m playing, I’ll glance up at the crowd. Just to see the excitement on their faces gives me the extra drive. They are there to watch you. YOU are the showcase, the main event, the entertainment.

The MHSAA Student Advisory Council has been featuring the best student sections in the state with our “Battle of the Fans” contest. The fan bases for some of the schools in Michigan is incredible. They all have one goal – help their team to victory.

I attend Rudyard High School in the Upper Peninsula. I come from a small area, and the population is much smaller than many communities down-state. Life is a little slower up here, but the townspeople all have one thing we can do to get away from everyday stress – go to the big game.

Whether it be Friday night football, or District Finals in basketball, you can expect to see Main Street empty and the school parking lot full of cars.

One game I will always remember for lots of fans and noise was our basketball Quarterfinal in 2010. I was a sophomore, brought up to varsity toward the end of the regular season. I had gotten more playing time in the playoffs and got to play some solid minutes in the Quarterfinal. We ended up losing the game, but the atmosphere was exhilarating. To step on the court, and look up and witness 3,000 fans going absolutely nuts gave me an experience I will never forget. Keep in mind, Rudyard’s population is a whopping 500 people.

For me, there are those certain fans for whom you always want to perform well. I am always working hard to impress my grandparents. They live more than 100 miles away and still manage to attend a good portion of my games. They always have been supportive, and I always try my best to win for them and for my team.

Then there are the young ones who look up to you. Just this year, my basketball coaches started a youth basketball camp, and every Saturday we open the gym and kids as young as 3-years-old get their chance to be like us. They bounce the ball with the biggest smiles on their faces, and we know that they are always watching us on and off the court – and always learning from us.

I once had a young boy ask me, “Can you slam dunk it during a game for me this year?” He had been attending camp every Saturday and watched some of our practices. Just knowing how much of an influence we have on the youth of our town makes me want to be even better, and work even harder.

Young or old, sold-out house or not, fans always will be essential in supplying the home team advantage and deciding the outcome of the game. And they’ve left me with more sports-related memories than just those made on the court.

Tyler Wilson, Rudyard senior

  • Sports: Football, basketball, baseball
  • Non-sports activities: Student Council, band, drama, National Honor Society
  • Favorite class: AP government
  • Must-see TV: "Pardon The Interruption"
  • One shining moment: When we made the football playoffs this year after starting the season 2-3.
  • What's next: I plan on attending college and playing a sport. I’m not exactly sure where, but I have been narrowing it down. I plan on studying pre-med.
  • My favorite part of game day is: ... spending time with teammates. Sometimes we will have a team breakfast on game day. We’ll get together during lunch at school, etc. Just the feeling you get when you walk around the halls wearing a jersey or being dressed up.

PHOTO courtesy of Tyler Wilson.

Performance of the Week: Novi's Ally Katinas

May 16, 2024

Ally Katinas headshotAlly Katinas ♦ Novi
Senior ♦ Lacrosse

Katinas scored four goals in Novi’s 16-6 win over Flint Powers Catholic on May 10, including her 100th goal this season and the 200th over her career. Entering this spring only 20 players in MHSAA lacrosse history had scored 100 goals in a season, and only 20 had reached 200 career goals.

Novi is 13-5 after Monday’s 15-3 win over Canton, an improvement over last year’s 8-9 finish. Beginning with the summer before her junior year, Katinas fractured both ankles – and one ankle twice – but she returned for the second half of Novi’s season as her team won four of its last five games. The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11 games this spring and are No. 6 in the Division 1 Michigan Power Ratings (MPR). Katinas will continue playing next season at Detroit Mercy and plans to study pre-law.

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Ally Katinas #lacrosse #novi #letsgo #100goals #part1 #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

@mhsaasports 🥍POW: Ally Katinas #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #starbucks #chipotle #suits #dog #pilates #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a division within the Department of Lifelong Education, Advancement, and Potential (MiLEAP). MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

May 9: Peter Roehl, Rochester Adams - Report
May 2:
Lilah Smith, Richland Gull Lake soccer - Report
April 25:
Mason Mayne, Lawton track & field - Report
April 18:
Alli Wright, Jenison softball - Report
April 11:
Chloe Wishart, Trenton soccer - Report
March 28:
Jenna Maki, Ishpeming basketball - Report
March 22:
Jaremiah Palmer, Niles Brandywine basketball - Report
March 15:
Leah Hodge, North Farmington gymnastics - Report
March 8:
Darius Marines, Detroit Catholic Central wrestling - Report
March 1:
Rylee Smith, Zeeland West bowling - Report
Feb. 22:
Caleb Lewandowski, Traverse City West skiing - Report
Feb. 15:
Jadin Mix, Onaway basketball - Report
Feb. 8:
Onalee Wallis, Cadillac skiing - Report
Feb. 1:
Abbey DeGraw, Rochester Hills Stoney Creek competitive cheer - Report
Jan. 25:
Ewan Todd, Riverview swimming - Report
Jan. 18:
Ashley Weller, Jackson Northwest basketball - Report
Jan. 11:
Michael Baldwin, Saginaw Arthur Hill wrestling - Report
Dec. 15:
Jena Fijolek, Fenton bowling - Report
Dec. 8:
Sophia Wagner, Escanaba gymnastics - Report
Dec. 1:
Isaiah Marshall, Southfield Arts & Technology football - Report
Nov. 24:
Sarah Bradley, Clarkston Everest Collegiate volleyball - Report
Nov. 17:
Kalieb Osborne, Waterford Mott football - Report
Nov. 10:
Tekalegn Vlasma, Muskegon Western Michigan Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Colton Kinnie, Birmingham Seaholm football - Report
Oct. 27:
Lauren Timpf, Macomb Lutheran North golf - Report
Oct. 20:
Alena Li, Okemos golf - Report
Oct. 13:
Seth Norder, Grand Haven cross country - Report
Oct. 5:
Paige Anderson, Muskegon Reeths-Puffer golf - Report
Sept. 29:
MacKenzie Bisballe, Lake City volleyball - Report
Sept. 22:
Jhace Massey, Gladwin football - Report
Sept. 15:
Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Action photo courtesy of Chris Mucke.)