The crowd goes wild

Sliding dribbles, dance intermissions and four-point shots: not things you’d typically see at a basketball game, but all three and more were on display at the Minot State Dome for the Harlem Globetrotters performance Thursday night.

Fans were treated to an evening of flashy, eye-catching basketball, including 40-foot shots, trick plays and several crowd-rousing dunks.

The Globetrotters defeated the World All-Stars 102-96, but the final score was a minor detail.

“I think (fan interaction) is the best part of our job,” Scooter Christiansen said. “You always know when they come to a Globetrotters game, they’ll never remember the score. They’ll remember going home laughing, smiling and having a good time.”

That good time was enhanced by the Globetrotters’ wacky antics, which kept the show lighthearted and fun. Players, coaches and even referees were not hesitant in bringing fans into the mix.

They all seemed to appreciate the reception they got from the Minot fans.

“We’re happy to be here,” said Big Easy Lofton, the showman of the team. “These are great people. They all came out with their families, and I’m glad we could put on a great show.”

Added Scooter: “I think we did our job well tonight.”

Prior to the game, Minot fans were given the power to vote for the rules of the game. They were given three options: “trick-shot challenge,” “make or miss,” and “hot-hand jersey,” all of which were featured at some point during the show.

Trick-shot challenge won the fans’ vote, inspiring a number of crazy shots that the Globetrotters executed to near perfection. The only missed shot came on a backward free-throw attempt from Cheese Chishom, which rimmed out in the game’s closing moments.

Those in attendance roared with each spectacular play and laughed during the show’s comical moments.

Some fans were dragged on the floor to dance. Others were put on the spot to shoot.

Big Easy even chased a kid up and down the court, much to his hurried delight.

“That’s what the Globetrotters are about,” Big Easy said. “We’re all about the fans. That’s what seperates us from any other sports entertainment organization.”

At one point, the Globetrotters found themselves down by nine points in the third quarter, a deficit inspired by the hot-hand jersey. The World All-Stars burst out in the second half with four consecutive buckets: two six-pointers and two eight-pointers.

Nothing a comical intermission couldn’t fix.

Scooter and Big Easy proceeded to chase each other around the arena, threatening to splash each other with water. The skit resulted in a full bucket’s worth being thrown into a referee’s face.

The crowd went wild.

“We’re about having fun,” Big Easy said. “We’re here for the people, and we love interacting with them.”

Joe Mellenbruch covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @Mellenbruch_MDN.