(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CAPE GIRARDEAU -- The game is being dubbed "The Rivalry".
Wars between the Sikeston Bulldogs and Charleston Bluejays have certainly stood up to that name so far as fans have packed both the Sikeston Field House and Charleston High School on numerous occasions.
That is why the next game between the Bulldogs and Bluejays will be moved to a bigger venue.
On Jan. 31, Sikeston and Charleston will meet for the last time this season at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.
"This is a great opportunity for the student athletes and fans of both the Charleston and Sikeston communities," Andy McGill, Athletic Director at Sikeston High School said. "The rivalry between the two schools brings such an excitement. It will be a great experience and atmosphere for our athletes to play in a facility like the Show Me Center."
After meeting in early December during the championship game of the SEMO Conference Tournament at the Field House, school officials have predicted another huge draw when the two were supposed to meet again on Jan. 4. Shortly after, talks of moving the game to the Show Me Center turned into action as McGill and Charleston athletic director Danny Farmer set the plans into motion.
Although most everyone wanting to see the two schools battle actually get that opportunity at the Field House, some, if not most, fans are turned away when the rivalry shifts to Charleston High School because of the limited amount of seating available.
Charleston is close to holding 800-1,000 fans. The Field House seats around 3,000.
"I feel being able to play our game at the Show Me Center will be great for the teams and the fans," Farmer said. "Basketball fans from all over the state will be able to attend. A big game atmosphere will benefit both teams during the postseason."
Both teams come have remained steady atop the MBCA/MoSports.com rankings all year long.
They each came into the year as favorites in their respective classes -- Sikeston (8-0) was and still remains first in Class 4, while Charleston fell to third after losing to Sikeston 71-61 during the SEMO Conference tournament. The Bluejays (7-1) entered the year as the top team in Class 3 looking to defend their championship from a season ago.
"It's an opportunity to play a great team in a great basketball atmosphere," Sikeston head basketball coach Gregg Holifield said. "I know our players will be excited to play Charleston at the Show Me Center. It also gives a lot of people a chance to see one of the best rivalries in the state of Missouri. We are looking forward to it and look to use this as a big game experience for the district tournament."
The night will begin with a junior varsity contest between Sikeston and Charleston at 6 p.m. The varsity game will follow.
Tickets will go on sale Jan. 4 at the Show Me Center box office and online at www.showmecenter.biz. Available season options are $25 courtside (limited availability) and $12 for reserved seats at midcourt in sections 107-108 and 122-123. General admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students.