COLUMBIA — Get ready to stand in line.
Hickman High School's Thursday home game against Rock Bridge High School is such a big deal that Athletic Director Doug Mirts has devised a plan for the sale of tickets, which is typically a quick, walk-up process.
Tickets — $5 for adults and $3 for students — will go on sale near the gym's entrance at 5 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. tipoff. Because of the anticipated cold weather, fans will enter in the main lobby, take a right through the school's atrium and pass a set of double-doors to buy their tickets.
The line could be worth it.
Hickman (17-1) beat Rock Bridge (13-3) in the teams' first meeting on Dec. 17. It was a back-and-forth game that included 13 lead changes before the Kewpies finished with a 68-66 advantage. Hickman junior guard Jimmy Whitt scored a game-high 21 points, while Rock Bridge junior Ryan Kreklow led the Bruins with 20 points.
If this game is anything like the first one, fans are in for a thrilling night.
But they might need to arrive early. There will only be 1,200 tickets available, according to Kay Garnatz, Hickman's assistant athletics director.
What about the people who come after the tickets are sold out?
"Unfortunately, we have to tell them we're sorry and that it's sold out," Garnatz said. "Other games we just send a bunch of tickets to the ticket office because the crowd won't be anywhere near this one. We specifically count 1,200 tickets and have to stick to that because the gym will explode if we have much more than that."
Garnatz expects a charged atmosphere but plans to have extra administrators available to handle any possible incidents. There's a difference between real hate and sports hate, and Rock Bridge and Hickman clearly aren't fond of one another when inside the lines.
"You know, all these kids party together and date each other," Garnatz said. "But when it's a packed gym, people get competitive, and it's a pride thing. It will be volatile, that's for sure. So, you never know what could happen."
Supervising editor is Mark Selig.