LAHAINA - While most of Maui was tucked in bed Wednesday morning, die-hard basketball fans were up at 5 a.m. and waiting in line at the Lahaina Civic Center for their golden tickets to the EA Sports Maui Invitational championship game between Duke and Kansas.
"For marquee value it ranks at the top," tournament chairman Dave Odom said of the championship showdown.
Around 40 people arrived before 5 a.m., and the count grew to 100 by 7 a.m., according to tournament organizers. Sales began at 8 a.m., and the final 100 tickets were scooped up for $75 each.
Odom said he was fielding calls on Wednesday from people looking for tickets.
"Thankfully, I don't have any," he joked.
He added, "I had a guy from Los Angeles call me bright and early this morning, said, 'If I can get a flight over, can you get me in?' So the demand for tickets is at an all-time high - and it's a good problem to have."
A dispute broke out after a handful of fans complained of others jumping the line, but organizers said the situation was "very minor" and that everyone involved was able to purchase tickets.
The Lahaina Civic Center can hold 2,400 fans.
Advance ticket packages are sold to boosters at participating schools, and advance single-game tickets are offered online and at multiple Maui outlets. A limited number of single-game tickets are made available for each contest once the tournament begins.
* Lehia Apana is at firstname.lastname@example.org