HAMMOND | The Class 3A Hammond boys basketball sectional has been moved from the Hammond Civic Center to Clark High School, the IHSAA has confirmed, but the state association has not said why.
"Unbelievable, isn't it?" Griffith coach Gary Hayes said Friday. "I thought the city did a great job last year with it."
IHSAA spokesman Jason Wille said that the host school, Clark, made the decision on where the site would be for the sectional, which will begin March 4.
Clark principal Robert Wilson said before the Pioneers' game at Hammond High on Friday that he was not sure why the site was switched.
"It was a downtown decision," Wilson said.
Wille said that two years ago, when Clark hosted the same sectional, 866 tickets were sold, which was 64th out of 64 sectionals in the state for attendance. Last year when the Civic Center hosted, 1,208 tickets were sold, which was 63rd in the state.
However, this year, 2013 Class 2A state champion Bowman Academy joined the field, along with Lighthouse.
Hayes said his Panthers have had much better attendance.
A major issue at Clark is that the school sits in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
"I don't understand it," Bowman's Marvin Rea said. "The Civic Center is a great venue. They do a great job. There is going to be no place to park at Clark. We'll bring a big crowd. Lighthouse will bring a big crowd, Griffith, too."
There was a shuttle service in the past when Clark hosted the sectional.
Linda Fullilove, the School City of Hammond acting athletic director, sent an email to the participating schools that said her superintendent, Walter Watkins, made the call for the change.
"I haven't heard any details for why," Clark coach Joe Delgado said.