"Rebel Nation" takes over Target Center
The top-seeded Champlin Park boys basketball team kicked off quarterfinal action Wednesday morning at Target Center. The Rebels' loyal fans were excited to cheer their team on.

Basketball games don't usually start at 10 a.m.  Wednesday, but it does during the state tournament, and the Champlin Park faithful came out in full force.

"I just wanted to come out here and have fun," said Ryan Jatso, a Champlin Park senior.

Jatso was one of thousands in attendance to cheer on the undefeated Rebels from the packed Target Center stands.

"We are the CP 6th Man," said Luke Brynjulfson, a Champlin Park Senior. "Five guys on the court, we're the sixth one."

Brynjulfson was the unofficial leader of cheering section known as the "CP 6th Man."

"Our strategy is, we try to keep it as loud as possible for as long as possible," he said.

It's a group composed of rowdy students who decided to wear Hawaiian shirts because, well, why not?

"We do a lot of solid colors," he said. "We do blue, we do white, stuff like that. But sometimes it's nice to keep it wacky and let the people dress how they want."

'Wacky' is also a good way to describe the game itself.

Champlin Park trailed Chaska for much of the second half. It was unfamiliar territory for the top seed in Class 4A

"They're not playing to their potential," said Jatso, midway through the second half. "We watched them all year, playing at a high level, and right now they're not where they're supposed to be."

But in a game like basketball, it doesn't take much for momentum to change. And for these fans, the hope is that their efforts help influence the outcome.

"We like to chirp at 'em," Brynjulfson said. "Let them know that we're in their heads. We're gonna be the whole game, and it usually works."

Delane Cleveland

March 22, 2017


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