The highly-anticipated New Castle vs. Hampton high school boys basketball game will be played Saturday afternoon at Bethel Park and tickets are on sale today at both schools.
The two teams will play in a PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinal game, 2 p.m. at Bethel Park. Judging from their previous three meetings this season, the game will likely sell out.
New Castle and Hampton played in the WPIAL title game two weeks ago in front of a sellout crowd at Duquesne University’s Palumbo Center. They also met twice in the regular season and the games were sellouts at Hampton and New Castle.
Each school has 1,200 tickets to sell today and the schools are the only places tickets are available today. Bethel Park athletic director Amy Scheuneman said the school will put 300 standing-room tickets on sale Saturday at 1 p.m.
Bethel Park opened a new gymnasium in January 2012 and seating capacity is 2,450. But the gym also has a track above the seats that circles the facility. The track will accommodate those people who have to stand.
The WPIAL and PIAA tried to get other facilities for the game. Tim O’Malley, executive director of the WPIAL, said officials at Palumbo Center, Robert Morris’ Sewall Center, Slippery Rock University and Ambridge High School informed the WPIAL that their facilities were not available Saturday.
“People are of the opinion that we can go where we want for these games and that’s not true,” O’Malley said. “For whatever reason, places weren’t available. Obviously, we’ve played games at North Allegheny and Chartiers Valley, but Bethel Park is a new gym with seating capacity that exceeds both of those places.
“We looked around to see what’s available. Bethel Park has the largest seating capacity of any gym available in the WPIAL. Yes, it’s probably off the beaten path, but if we put it in a place like Chartiers Valley, we’d have to turn away 400-500 more people, and there is nowhere for standing room like Bethel Park.”