NEW LONDON - With a home court-like atmosphere, you'd think all 7,335 New London residents were in the Resch Center Friday afternoon for the WIAA State Girl's Basketball Tournament.
"It's going to get loud in here," said Chris Steingraber, a New London High School student. "We'll make sure of that."
As New London's game was about ready to tip off, classes were just wrapping up back in New London. Only about 30 of the high school's 785 students stayed until the final bell.
Around the city, it was a similar story.
"You sure can tell the difference because right now there is about half as many in here than there was last year during the games," said Terry Hilbert, the owner of Hilby's Sports Bar and Restaurant.
Hilbert says the crowd difference in his bar is because of the tournament's new home, just 45 miles away in Ashwaubenon.
The past two years, New London's girls basketball team won the state tournament in Madison.
Most of the people in the bar on Friday, weren't lucky enough to make the trip to Ashwaubenon.
Just a few blocks away at Festival Foods, students were busy at work, instead of enjoying the shorter travel to the tournament.
"Everyone I tried to ask was already going to the game and everyone who had off was going to the game, so I kind of had to work," said Harley Finder, a sophomore at New London High School.
Finder wasn't alone.
"I'm pretty bummed about it," said Jennah Fredenberd, a junior at New London High School.
"I missed last year too, so I wish I could go and cheer them on," said Jamie Conine, a junior.
But at least the students had one thing going for them.
"It seems to be a little dead," said Finder. "More dead now than on a normal Friday."
The same couldn't be said about the Resch Center.
"I've got a feeling half the town is here tonight, so it's going to be a good night," said Steingraber.
New London lost the game 48-47.
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