Last week, Mac McClung and Gate City (Va.) dispatched of Radford High in the Virginia state quarterfinal game. That game was played in front of a packed house at Radford University.
In fact, it was an over-packed house with approximatelt 4,000 fans in attendence, and more who were turned away even though they’d bought a ticket.
So it would seem the semifinal game against Graham, a team that hasn’t gone this far in 16 years, would need to be held somewhere that could accommodate upwards of 4,000 fans.
Instead, the game will be played at…Tazewell Middle School.
If that seems odd, it’s because it is. By contrast, last year’s state semifinal was played at James Madison University. There was a bit of a change this year, however, as the higher-seeded team in the state quarterfinal and semifinal were allowed to choose the site, so long as it wasn’t the school’s home court.
Graham, which upset Gate City in the regional final last month, chose Tazewell Middle School.
Most teams have chosen to play at a nearby high school or a small college arena, such as UVA-Wise. That’s where Graham played its quarterfinal game. After that win, Graham coach Glynn Carlock Jr. told the Bristol Herald-Courier that the semifinal game would not be played at UVA-Wise, even though that was also where Graham defeated Gate City in the regional final.
It’s unfair to speculate why Graham decided to play at a decidedly smaller venue, especially given the interest in this game. Each school will have an allotment of 1,000 tickets, which are set to go on sale Monday. No tickets will be sold at the game.
In any event, it will be a packed house Tuesday, but it seems thousands of would-be-onlookers will be left outside.