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QCA Cheers On Basketball Teams In Stands, At Home

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Friday night was a big night for high school athletics, with the Annawan, Prophetstown, and Lanark girls' basketball teams in the Bloomington-Normal area vying for state titles.

The stands have been packed with people from each of those communities, cheering their teams on. But, basketball fever was running high for the fans back at home, too.

Annawan fans that gathered for a viewing party in the Wanee Theater on Friday afternoon say they wouldn't have missed this semi-finals game for the world.

"It is just wonderful. I am so happy for the girls," said one Annawan fan, Charles DeDecker.

Even though making the trip to see the game in person was not an option for the people in the crowd in Kewanee, there was no shortage of team spirit.

And, there was plenty of gratitude for the Wanee Theater for opening its doors to show the live broadcast of the game on the big screen, free of charge.

"It is really nice. It is like being there," said one man who watched the game there, Jerry Weir.

"I try to watch if anybody who is doing well so that we - you know, anything we can do to support them," said the owner of the Wanee Theater, Bud Johnson.

Fans at the Wanee say being able to support their team after it has gone so far means a lot for their community.

"It is pretty big for just a small little town in a big state," said Alex Wiesbrook, an Annawan student cheering on the team.

"It means a lot for the people of Annawan that the girls are doing so good," DeDecker agreed.

The same can be said in Prophetstown, where sign after sign after sign shows the town's team spirit.

"I think it will bring everyone together, and I think everybody is really happy and proud that they have done this," said Sarah Stephens, a Prophetstown resident.

Hours before the Lady Prophets' game was set to begin, fans were already arriving at Cragel's to grab a good seat to watch.

"It's just big," said Rusty Roselieb, a Prophetstown fan at Cragel's Friday evening, "Especially with everything that's happened in the town in the last year with the big fire and everything, it just picks up the whole town."

The town is hoping to return the favor, cheering on their girls' basketball team from in the stands at the big game and from at home in the QCA.

"We all support the Prophets and the Lady Prophets and we really hope they win," said Annette Johnson, an employee at Cragel's, adding that she hoped the bar would be full of fans to watch the game that night.

Whether our local teams win or lose in these games, it's clear, their hometowns are very proud of them. And they have a lot to be proud of.

The Wanee Theater will open its doors again Saturday for fans to watch the Annawan girls play in the state finals. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

Cragel's also planned to host another viewing party on Saturday for Prophetstown fans to watch their team play.

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