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Bush Takes Break To Watch H.S. Hoops

March 11, 2000

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Just days before a Texas primary he’s bound to win, Gov. George W. Bush took a short break from his presidential campaign Saturday to watch the state high school boys basketball tournament.

``I’m for that Texas team,″ he joked when asked who he was rooting for.

Bush has visited the state tournament for the past six years, awarding championship medals to some of the winning teams.

During the games at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center, Bush shared a bucket of popcorn with state Sen. David Sibley, a Republican from Waco, and exchanged jokes with Mike Moses, the state’s former education commissioner who’s now deputy chancellor of Texas Tech University.

Parents ushered their children up to the governor between quarters, programs in hand, for autographs and an occasional snapshot.

Saturday’s games were a short break for Bush, who will leave to campaign in Florida and Tennessee on Sunday before meeting voters in Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma on Monday.

His presence did not go unnoticed by tournament participants.

A small group of cheerleaders from La Vega High School in Waco inched off of the court to get a glimpse of the GOP candidate.

``He’s shorter than I thought,″ said senior Candice McAdams. Regardless of his stature, McAdams, who is of voting age, said the governor had her support.

La Vega’s mascot, Kim ``Pirate Pete″ Carter, took Bush’s attendance as a good omen.

``He’s good luck,″ Carter said. ``He’s on our side.″ She summed up her belief in the governor’s loyalty to her team ``because he’s a winner and we’re winners.″

Bush didn’t appear to show any favoritism during the game, but La Vega did bring home the championship trophy.

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