Proud fans applaud Augusta State's efforts

Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Augusta State University fans James Keener, Alaina Parton and Rachel Martin react in the closing stages of ASU's championship game against Winona State.

Porsha White might have been hundreds of miles away from her "brothers" on the Jaguars' men's basketball team, but she felt the disappointment of their loss to Winona State University like she was right there with them on the court.

The Augusta State University sophomore joined more than 100 fans inside ASU's Student Activity Center on Saturday afternoon to watch the 10th-ranked Jaguars compete in their first national championship.

"Win or lose they played great, but because we're like big family, to see them lose it feels like we're losing, too," said Ms. White, who is a forward for the Lady Jags.

The cheers were long and loud with each basket the Jags made and as the game concluded with ASU down by 11 points, the crowd gave their team a round of applause.

Lauren Luoma and her father, Keith, a mathematics professor at ASU, have been coming to the games since she was a little girl. For them, the chance to see the Jags compete in what was arguably their best season ever was enough for them.

"We've watched some good years and we've watched some bad ones and we're proud of them," Mr. Luoma said.

David Haynes had never considered himself an ASU fan. In fact, Saturday was the first time he had visited the campus. But that didn't stop him from being a vocal supporter of the Jags during the game.

"It's part of Augusta, so I thought I'd come over and cheer for the team," he said.

As the Jags make the trip home from Massachusetts today, at least one fan will continue to cheer on her team. Rachel Martin, a junior at ASU, said she'll be at Augusta Regional Airport to greet the players as they get off the plane.

"I'm just so proud we got to go this far and so glad they will be back again," she said.

Reach Adam Folk at (706) 823-3339 or adam.folk@augustachronicle.com.

MEET THE JAGS

A celebration picnic for Augusta State will be at noon today at Forest Hills Golf Club. The team is expected to arrive at Augusta's Bush Field about 11:30 a.m. and then make its way to the picnic. The cost is $7.50 per person.

ONLINE EXTRA

READ staff writer Chris Gay's blog: augustachronicle.com/blogs">augustachronicle.com/blogs