Boys basketball

Hammond Civic Center gets IHSAA sectional back

2013-01-05T21:30:00Z 2013-01-09T19:57:07Z Hammond Civic Center gets IHSAA sectional backSteve Hanlon steve.hanlon@nwi.com, (219) 933-4198 nwitimes.com
January 05, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

It's kind of like Elvis returning to Graceland. Today.

Indiana high school postseason basketball is returning to one of the state's oldest and most historic gymnasiums.

The Hammond Civic Center, with a serious facelift, will be hosting the IHSAA boys basketball sectional again, with the Class 3A Hammond Sectional tipping off there on Feb. 26.

Clark, Gavit, Griffith, Hammond, Lew Wallace and Roosevelt will be competing in the gym that was built in 1938. A new floor was installed this past spring and the teams that played in The Times Region Roundball Rumble on Tuesday praised the new surface.

It will mark the first time a sectional has been played in the Civic Center since 2005.

"I'm excited; that beautiful building deserves to have a sectional," said Hammond High athletic director Larry Moore, Sr. "The city has done a great job making the facility ready for an event like this.

"I know the Civic Center is really trying to do the right things to bring high school basketball back there."

As of today two regular season games for this season have already been moved to 5825 Sohl Avenue. Clark will play Highland there on Feb. 7 and Gavit will play Roosevelt there on Feb. 22.

Hammond High is already planning on scheduling regular season games at the Civic Center next season.

"No. 1, I'm excited about it because of all the great history and tradition associated there," Hammond high boys basketball coach Larry Moore Jr. said. "Some of the greatest players ever have played in that gym."

Oscar Robertson and John Wooden, along with all the local greats battled there. Moore Jr. believes the ghosts still shoot jumpers in the gym.

"That place has so much history," Moore Jr. said. "I hope the kids today understand what the Civic Center is all about. I know I'm going to talk to them about it."

The first sectional was hosted at the Civic Center in 1939. That continued and the single-class semistate was there in 1939 and again in 1941 through 1944. The Civic Center hosted 16 sectionals in the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

In 1957 E.C. Washington took the sectional away. It returned in 1963 and lasted until 1982. It's returned here and there in the class era, with Hammond's Wildcats winning their last sectional title on the floor in 2005.

This season's sectional draw will be on Feb. 17. The nets will be cut down inside the Civic Center on March 2.

"It's a great venue; there's not a bad seat in the house," Moore Jr. said. "It's going to be exciting. Our sectional is going to be very exciting with a lot of good teams."

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