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Family faithful: Lifelong Bend high school basketball fans honored at Summit High

(Update: Adding video, comments from couple, granddaughter Summit player)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- When a crowd at a basketball game cheers, it's typically for a player or team.

But for lifelong Bend high school basketball fans Stan and Darlene Shoults, they earned a round of applause on Thursday. 

"We're sitting there waiting for the introductions of the players, and I hear the announcer,” Shoults recalled Friday. “I told Darlene, I said, 'They're talking about us!' It was just a surprise to have them do that."

The Shoults were recognized at the Summit high girls basketball game for being the team's No. 1 fans.

"Our granddaughter came over and gave us the flowers, and she was in tears, and we were in tears, and my daughter was standing there -- she was in tears,” Shoults said. 

The couple was watching their granddaughter, Whitney West, play her final high school basketball game.

They have been to nearly every Summit game for the past eight years.

"I've probably been to all the games that have been played in Central Oregon,” Shoults said. "If our kids or grandkids are playing, we're going to be there."

West is their second granddaughter to play at Summit.

Both of their daughters played at Mountain View, and Shoults himself played at Bend High, where he met Darlene in the 1960s.

"Instead of eight years, you're talking more like 12 years, watching our grandkids play,” Shoults said. 

Stan can't even keep track of all the games they've been to.

"Oh man -- you'd have to figure out how many they've played,” he said. 

"When you saw all of them, we've pretty much watched all of them."

West knows it's not easy for them to make it to every game.

"People don't realize how hard it is for them to get to these games, and that's what makes it mean the most,” West said. 

"They're the toughest people I know, so that really just shows how strong they are."

West said having her grandparents there was reassuring and something she didn’t take for granted.

"It's like the feeling of endless support. Even if I play badly, my grandpa will always text me after games,” West said. 

"It's never a worry of playing well in front of them. I just know that they will always support me, and it's nice to have that automatic support with you the whole game."

Stan and Darlene are sad to see their last grandchild move on, but are glad it could end the way it did.

"It was tremendous. We were totally surprised and it meant a lot to us,” Stoults said. "It was just fantastic."

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.

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