If you attend tonight's Wando basketball game, there's a good chance you will see Willie Wonka, Elmo from Sesame Street, Macaulay Culkin or even Austin Powers' arch-enemy.
They won't be there in person, of course. But they will be there in, shall we say, Dr. Evil spirit.
The Wando student-body cheering section calls itself "The ChopHouse," and the students, who sit in the stands behind the basket, are creative in their support of their team. They print up big posters of celebrities such as Dr. Evil and hold them up to intimidate the other team. The students spontaneously chant and do jump-arounds to cheer their team. And if all else fails, they break out the dreaded hypnotic wheel in an attempt to put opposing players in a trance.
"The hypnotic wheel works," said senior Logan Windham, who pitched the idea of a strong student-body section four years ago and was a founding father of "The ChopHouse" last year. "When opposing players see the hypnotic wheel, they seem to miss their free throws."
Duke has its "Cameron Crazies." Ohio State has its "Nut House" and Kansas has "The Phog."
But when it comes to high school student cheering sections, Wando just might be tops in the Lowcountry. "The ChopHouse" can inspire the home team and rattle the opposition. The Warriors are 9-0 at home this season and 17-2 the past two seasons.
It wasn't always that way.
When Windham was a freshman, he was full of teen spirit and loved sports. He went before student council and talked about having a huge student-body section at the games.
"We have the most students in the state, so we should have the biggest student section," Windham said. "The year before I was a freshman, we were something like 2-20 and there seemed to be only five or 10 students in the stands. I wanted to get the student body involved. I remember watching a Louisville basketball game and the students would randomly hold up big photos of celebrities like Dr. Evil. I said, 'Why not?' One of my friends is Evans Townsend, and his dad has a big printer. We went to work."
David Eaton was named coach Windham's freshman year, and that's when the team's fortunes and student attendance changed. The Warriors are 23-2 this season, and its not unusual to see 500 students in the stands behind the basket.
"The players love it -- and appreciate it," Eaton said. "Having a big crowd makes any game seem like a big game. It wants to make the players take their game to the next level. Having "The ChopHouse" gives it that college-game atmosphere. But the players aren't the only ones who benefit. I have had parents come up tell me that "The ChopHouse" is their child's only social interaction at Wando. "The ChopHouse" has helped our students become better fans, too. Last year, there was a little more negativity toward the other team. This year, they know how to cheer for our team rather than jeer the other team."
Senior basketball player Walt Smalls is appreciative of the student body's support and admits he laughs when he hears "The ChopHouse" chant 'You can't do that' when an opposing player fouls a Warrior.
"The ChopHouse" also breaks down the myth that jocks are unapproachable.
"Hey, when we walk down the halls of the school, we talk basketball with "The ChopHouse." You don't have to be a player to enjoy basketball. The members of "The ChopHouse" are part of the team, too."
Follow Phil Bowman on Twitter at @pandcphil.