York High boys' basketball coach Clovis Gallon knows teenagers will be teenagers.
They will let their minds race ahead at times.
With a York-Adams League Division I contest looming Tuesday night against South Western, Gallon would like that contest to be the Bearcats' main focus. Unfortunately, something larger looms on Wednesday, and that is already gaining much of the team's attention and excitement.
On Wednesday, York High will face Steel High in a nonleague boys' basketball game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, home of the NBA's 76ers. The foundation for the game, which is part of a program called "Court of Dreams," was set back in April by York High athletic director Ron Coursey. The Bearcats finally got a date, time and opponent back in October.
Now, something that felt as if it would never arrive is just days away.
"The players are definitely excited about the opportunity to play a game on a professional floor in a professional arena before a professional basketball game," Gallon said.
Excitement brewing: The buzz surrounding the game has taken over the York City community, as well.
Both the Bearcats and Rollers were given a minimum of 200 tickets to sell ahead of the game, and it didn't take long to sell out that allotment, forcing the Bearcats to go back to the 76ers requesting more, Coursey said. The 76ers then gave York High another 150 tickets, which also sold out quickly.
Tickets purchased through York High are good for admission to the high school game that begins at 3 p.m. and also for the NBA game that follows at 7 p.m. between the 76ers and New York Knicks.
Any fans still interested in attending the game can contact Coursey via email at coursron@YCS.k12.pa.us or purchase a game ticket through Ticketmaster for the 76ers' contest, which will grant them access to both the high school and NBA games.
The Bearcats and Steel High used to be rivals in the now-defunct Central Penn League.
The York High team is slated to leave school by 11:30 a.m., according to Gallon, hoping to arrive at the Wells Fargo Center no later than 2 p.m., and then go through typical pregame preparations. With a game on Tuesday night, Gallon said any preparation for Steel High won't happen until the players are dismissed from class Wednesday and preparing to leave the school on the team bus en route to Philadelphia.
Coursey said the school also will have a bus to take fans to and from Philadelphia, which will leave the high school at noon. With Wednesday already being a half-day of school for students within the district, Coursey said he already knows of students who have purchased tickets and will attend the game.
"I would say the community is just as excited (as the players), if not more so," Coursey said. "I've had people constantly calling my office to inquire about the event itself and how to get tickets. ... One community member told me that this will be like when we used to go to the Giant Center every year for districts and states, but the only difference is that it's a much bigger arena and for a regular-season game where more people might be able to go and take it in."
Don't look past Mustangs: It's been a rocky start for Bearcats in Gallon's first season as head coach. They're sitting at 4-6 overall and 2-4 in Y-A League Division I play.
So, with a pivotal game awaiting the Bearcats on Tuesday before Wednesday's grand event, York High will want to make sure it heads to Philadelphia on a positive note.
"We've been trying to take the approach of one game at a time," Gallon said about not overlooking the Mustangs on Tuesday. "(On Monday) we'll watch some game film, go over the scouting report for South Western to prepare for them, and there will be no conversation about what we're going to see on Wednesday with Steel High."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org.