Sea of Brock red set to flood Meridian Centre

Home court advantage has never sounded so good.

More than 2,200 free student tickets to the Brock Badgers men’s and women’s basketball games Friday night at the Meridian Centre have been scooped up. That’s in addition to hundreds of tickets purchased by the community for the doubleheader in downtown St. Catharines against the Ryerson Rams. More than 200 youth basketball players from across Niagara will also be in attendance at the event, which starts at 6 p.m.

For women’s basketball coach Ashley MacSporran, the huge crowd expected for the Paint the Meridian Red games isn’t a cause for nerves, but is a much-needed boost.

“From the beginning of the year when we had our first home game, I’ve been telling them to enjoy the atmosphere. I think they can use so much of that energy,” said MacSporran, who will be coaching in her first game at the Meridian Centre.

She said her roster is down to eight healthy players for Friday’s game against the 10-2 Rams women’s team, so the extra push will help.

“As much as it’s a big game and there are more fans, the focus is on what those fans can do for us as opposed to it being a nerves thing,” MacSporran said.

The focus is on what those fans can do for us as opposed to it being a nerves thing

Ryerson goes into the women’s game on a two-game winning streak while the Badgers have dropped the last three, but some of Brock’s best performances have come against the toughest competition this year.

“Containing their all-star players and making sure they don’t have big nights is the most important thing, and then making sure we play our style rather than them dictating their style of play,” she said.

The Brock men’s team, ranked sixth in Canada with an 8-4 regular season record, comes into its 8 p.m. matchup Friday night riding a three-game winning streak. The Ryerson Rams are ranked fourth in Canada with a perfect 12-0 record.

This will be the third game at the Meridian Centre for men’s coach Charles Kissi, who said the energy in the building for these home games is outstanding.

“It’s electric. That building is perfect for this type of event,” he said. “It’s the right size. It’s not like the Air Canada Centre. It’s intimate and a great arena for a big game like this or even a national championship.”

Kissi said the only way to knock off the undefeated Rams will be playing consistent basketball.

“We have enough talent to beat anyone in our league. We played them in the pre-season and won,” he said. “It’s not about them as much as it is us. We have to play hard and stick to our script and we should be fine.”

The Badgers men have seven regular season games left and are aiming to finish high enough in the standings to get a first-round playoff bye, or host a first-round game.

“We have to try and win this game just like we have to win the other ones to put us in a good position as we approach the playoffs,” he said. “We’re trying to make that road to the final four as easy as possible.”

General admission tickets and courtside options are available through Ticketmaster online. Prices are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students and $35 for courtside. If the games don’t sell out before Friday, tickets will be available at the door.

Suites are also available to the Brock community for $125 for up to eight people plus the cost of tickets. Food and drinks are available at an additional cost. To book a suite, please contact Amanda Laprise at

In addition to the two varsity basketball games, there will be entertainment throughout the evening including giveaways, half-court shot contests and a performance by professional basketball dunker Jordan Kilganon, considered to be one of the best dunkers in the world.

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