Tickets for the Feb. 2, 2018 Lewisville-Great Falls basketball games sold out in about 30 hours.
They were pre-sold after fighting stopped both the girls’ and boys’ games on Jan. 19. The girls’ game was suspended following an on-court fight between players from the two teams. The boys’ game was later stopped after fighting broke out in the stands. That game was finished the following day in an empty gym.
Great Falls athletic director and boys’ basketball coach Jimmy Duncan said that security cameras helped administrators and police determine that fighting in the stands stemmed almost solely from people attending the game that weren’t connected to either Great Falls or Lewisville.
Duncan and Lewisville AD Rusty Pemberton think that pre-selling tickets should help nip most potential issues in the bud. Pemberton sits down with Dwayne Robinson -- who oversees Chester County’s school resource officers -- and provides pertinent information about the game’s likely environment. Robinson decides how many resource officers to bring, and if any additional security is necessary. Knowing three days in advance that the game was sold out should enable Robinson to have a fail-proof plan in place for Friday.
That should leave the basketball as the main focus. Both Lewisville and Great Falls’ girls’ teams are essentially eliminated from postseason contention, leaving bragging rights -- substantial as they are -- as the main motivator. There were player suspensions stemming from the scuffle during the first game and Pemberton and other Lewisville administrators had a long chat with their school’s team before Friday’s game.
“I think they’ve learned their lesson,” he said.
Plenty is still on the line for the boys’ game. Great Falls is tied with McBee in first place at 6-1, with Lewisville a game behind at 5-2. Great Falls scored the final 13 points in its empty gym to win the first matchup against the Lions.
With Lewisville and McBee the two remaining games on Great Falls’ schedule, the Red Devils’ fate is firmly in their control. That, along with the drama and hype resonating from the two schools’ last meeting, make the 25-hour sell-out much more understandable.
“It’s a big game, a top-10 matchup,” said Duncan. “Region championship on the line, and it’s a rivalry game. I figured it would sell out, but I didn’t think it would until Thursday or something.”
Great Falls has already crossed off the first goal on its team’s to-do list: make the playoffs. The Red Devils missed the last two postseasons, which, as the Chester News Reporter’s Travis Jenkins pointed out, is an eternity for Great Falls basketball. But Duncan’s crew has already clinched a playoff berth and can also nail down a first round home game with at least one win in its final two contests.