Lies. Deception. Imposters.
For some, getting a ticket to the high school basketball semistate at Seymour on Saturday involves going to lengths more associated with something you might read in a spy novel.
Call it the “Romeo Effect.” As in, Romeo Langford, the star senior from New Albany. His exceptional talent, combined with New Albany’s large and loyal fan base and his consideration of Indiana among his top three college choices, have converged to make this normally hot ticket a once-in-a-generation phenomenon. Another factor in the fervor: New Albany’s opponent is the undefeated Warren Central.
“I have never seen anything like this,” Warren Central athletic director Marques Clayton said. “Some of the things that we’ve seen, it’s just nuts.”
Class 4A top-ranked Warren Central (30-0) will play Langford and third-ranked New Albany (25-1) in the second game of the semistate doubleheader at 3 p.m. Saturday. The first game is a Class A semistate between No. 4 Morristown (26-2) and No. 5 Barr-Reeve (24-4) at 1 p.m.
Each of the four schools was given 1,900 tickets when their administrators met Monday afternoon at Seymour.That is all of the tickets available for the semistate. About 500-600 of the tickets for each school were designated for reserve seating in the lower portion of the 8,110-capacity Lloyd Scott Gymnasium. That’s a change from the sectional and regional rounds at Seymour, in which New Albany fans overwhelmed the gym.
“They (Seymour) did a good job of distributing the tickets evenly and making sure each school had the same amount,” Clayton said.
If only it were that easy. Phones have been ringing off the hook since Monday morning at Barr-Reeve, Morristown and Warren Central — basketball fans looking to score tickets. But not necessarily fans of those schools.
“I feel bad for the secretaries at our school,” Morristown athletic director Josh Johnson said. “I really do. To put it in perspective, on Monday morning we normally get a few calls about sick kids or doctor appointments. Every single phone call on Monday morning was about tickets. I got back from the meeting (in Seymour) and the phone rang constantly from all afternoon and into the night. Let’s just say most of them were not from our area code.”
The area codes of 812 (southern Indiana, including New Albany) and 502 (Louisville, across the river from New Albany) have been coming up often. New Albany has 3,000 season-ticket holders for its 4,100-seat gym that has filled for every home game this season. With an allotment of just 1,900 tickets, some New Albany fans are forced to look for other means to score tickets.