For one night, Warner Robins hopes that a home away from home will be just as good as the real thing.
The Demons’ gym is about 300 spots short of the capacity required for GHSA Class AAAAA quarterfinal games, and while other opponents have just come to Warner Robins and played, Miller Grove had other ideas.
So the Demons and Wolverines will take their quarterfinal game about nine miles and 14 minutes south to Veterans, with the game also moving back a day.Originally scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, the teams will play at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Warner Robins athletics director Bryan Way said he talked to Miller Grove athletics director and basketball head coach Sharman White on Monday, and they discussed the logistics.
By noon Tuesday, everything had changed as Miller Grove exercised its right to request that the capacity standard of 1,200 seats be met.
“I’m pretty upset right now, I’m not gonna lie to you,” Warner Robins head coach Jamaal Garman said before practice. “What about the run we made last year? All three games were at home, and not one single team complained that our gym wasn’t big enough.”
The Demons hosted two games this year, as well.
Miller Grove and DeKalb County officials contacted the GHSA, Way said, which in turn called Warner Robins and said it needed to find a facility that met the standards.
“The only gym in the county big enough is Veterans,” Way said. “Coach (David) Bruce and them have been extremely accommodating.”
Way said Bruce estimated the Veterans capacity at about 1,900, roughly 1,000 more than what Warner Robins holds. Plus the Veterans setup allows for substantial standing-room only room.
“It’s disappointing for our kids,” Way said. “You’re supposed to have an advantage when you play at home. I hate it for them.”
By the end of practice Tuesday, Garman was only a little less miffed. Players Marquez Callaway and Nate Curtis weren’t any happier but said the Demons had started to get past the location and maintain their focus on the opponent.
After all, Miller Grove has won six straight state titles, including by a 70-43 count a year ago over the Demons at the Macon Coliseum.
The bigger venue gives Warner Robins a chance to double the home crowd as the Demons try to get revenge.
“It hurt; it hurt everybody,” Curtis said. “We live off fan support. That’s the best thing we can have.”