Byronís student body, also called the Black Hole, is known for its size and its enthusiasm in rooting on the boys basketball team as well as for other sports. Senior Ryan Johnson is wearing the "Virginity Rocks" t-shirt. Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
A black hole has multiple definitions, but here's one of them:
"Any place regarded as resembling a black hole in that items or information entering it cannot be retrieved."
Byron High School has a black hole.
It shows up on game day, can number more than 50 students and has a reputation for being sportsmanlike, but intimidating and loud.
"I have friends from other schools who say they don't want to play here because of it," said Byron senior Ryan Johnson.
To put it simply, Byron's black hole is the high school's student section, and this year it seems to be as effective as ever.
Known for its mostly black clothing, enthusiasm and for traveling well, the black hole has watched first hand as the Byron boys basketball team has played its way to a 12-1 start.
The Bears have won a dozen straight.
"They're great," head coach Kerry Linbo said, of the students and the black hole. "They're very cooperative, and I think they're really a boost for our kids."
Senior starter Jack Nelson agreed.
"All three years I've played they've been awesome," Nelson said. "They come to each away game, and they get into it almost as much as we do."
They were into it Jan. 15 for Byron's 53-29 home win against Zumbrota-Mazeppa.
The game was tied 7-7 early on, but Nelson found his groove, and the students' fed off of it. Nelson scored 16 of his 24 points in the first half alone, including a two-handed jam that sent the black hole into a frenzy.
"It felt good to get some shots down because I've been struggling the past couple of games," Nelson said.
The Bears rode their early momentum into a 24-13 halftime lead, and the black hole cheered them on.
They're even creative too.
"Swat team!" they'd yell following a Byron block, and during their team's free throws, they'd put their hands together, Mr. Miyagi like, and follow that with a "whoosh," when the ball went in.
The Bears played well together as they usually do. Brandon Schubert finished with 10 points, while Cody Baumbach and Buster Meyer each had 6.
Byron hosted Stewartville Jan. 18. Results were not available by press time, but next up for the Bears is an always competitive matchup with Hayfield Jan. 22 at 7:15 p.m. in Byron.
"I feel like we're getting better and heading in the right direction," Linbo said.
There's good reason for that. This year's basketball team is talented, plays strong defense and shoots well.