Big changes are in store for the 55th District Basketball Tournament this year, as Jackson City School will be hosting opening round games at its J.B. Goff Gymnasium. Jackson City will proceed to host the championship games at Wolfe County’s Rose Gymnasium.

The big changes for the tournament, which is slated to start Monday, Feb. 18, are as follows: Given J.B. Goff Gymnasium’s limited seating potential, tickets for Monday night’s game pairing Wolfe County’s boys against Jackson City, and Wednesday night’s game between Jackson City’s girls and Breathitt High, will be presold with tickets distributed through the respective schools.  Two hundred tickets have been given to each school with another 100 potentially available. If fan interest were to be equal, essentially 250 tickets would be sold through each school for each night. No tickets will be sold at the gate for Monday and Wednesday games. Tuesday night’s game seeing Wolfe County’s girls take on Riverside Christian will be as a typical season game with tickets sold at the gate on the night of the game.

The 55th District Tournament Meeting, chaired by JCS Superintendent Paul Green, was held Thursday, Feb. 7, at Jackson City School with representatives of the four schools comprising the 55th District in attendance. Voting members include Breathitt High, Jackson City, Riverside and Wolfe County. Jackson City’s decision to host opening round games at its J.B. Goff Gymnasium, which only has a seating capacity of 500, and the associated concerns of hosting a tournament in such a small facility, dominated the discussion.

As concerns from member schools were expressed, Dr. Green said they were hosting the tournament for JCS kids’ sake. Dr. Green went on to express his belief that all high school athletes should have opportunity to play a district game on their home court. Initially, members were told that (pep) bands would not be permitted; however, later in the day that decision was reversed. Nonetheless, band members’ paid admission tickets will be taken from the 200 allotted school tickets. And then, with more concerns being raised, Dr. Green adamantly stated, “We’re doing it for our kids, by George!” Dr. Green confirmed that hosting the tournament in such a small facility would be as a “roll of the dice” but further expressed confidence that Jackson City would be able to pull it off.

In a follow up with Dr. Green Friday morning regarding Jackson City’s decision to move the championship games to Wolfe County instead of hosting at Woods Coliseum, considering the close proximity and potential economic impact on the community, the Superintendent replied, “No comment.” Dr. Greene did say it was his decision to move the championship games to Wolfe County, and then further elaborated on his desire to improve relations between the school districts in Breathitt County and see economic growth in the business community. 

The championship games at Wolfe County will be as follows:  Boys’ championship will be held Thursday night, Feb. 21, with the girls’ championship following on Friday night. Tickets will be available at the gate as usual.