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City showdown is a sellout

February 11, 2002

City showdown is a sellout



By DAN SPEARS
dans@herald-mail.com


The North Hagerstown-South Hagerstown boys basketball series has had plenty of wild, eccentric, one-of-a-kind occurrences.

Friday night's game - the 100th between the city rivals - was no exception. For what many said was the first time in the series history, hundreds of fans waited in line for several hours at South Hagerstown High School to get one of 1,000 coveted seats to the much-anticipated game.

"I've seen packed houses on both sides," longtime WJEJ radio announcer Russ Wiebel said. "But this is the first time I've ever seen this sort of situation."

North won the game, 67-48.

South High announced last weekend that it would not sell tickets before the game, but would open its gates at 5 p.m., with the varsity contest starting at approximately 7:15.

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"You wouldn't believe how many calls we've had," South High athletic director Mike Tesla said. "Mothers, brothers, sisters ... I've had more friends this week than I ever had in my entire life."

Many fans took the heeding to heart, turning the front of the South High Fieldhouse into an impromptu tailgate nearly 41/2 hours before tipoff. Some people sat in lawn chairs and did crossword puzzles, while South students at the front of the line traded body painting tips.

"We've been here since 2:45," said Penny Miner, mother of South High forward David Miner and one of the first dozen people in line. "I've never seen anything like this. But you can't get any more exciting than this."

The Rebels (17-1) are off to their best start since they won their only state championship with an undefeated team in 1974. The Hubs are 16-3. One of their losses was a thrilling 80-75 game to South on Jan. 15 before almost 2,000 fans at North's gym.

But South's smaller facility does not hold as many people, leading to Friday's line.

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