With the Western Metal Supply Co. building overlooking the court at Petco Park, La Jolla Country Day’s Raymond Lu (left) and Matt Bender (24) battle for the basketball with San Ysidro’s Reuben Lumaban.
It is most-definitely different.
Then again, what would you expect when playing basketball outdoors in a Major League Baseball facility.
The week-long Bill Walton Basketball Festival tipped off, using three high school games Monday and today to work out the bugs for Sunday’s 2 p.m. USD-San Diego State men’s game at Petco Park.
And there were bugs. Not major creepy-crawlies, but bugs nonetheless.
Monday’s first prep game featured the La Jolla Country Day and Mount Miguel girls, starting a tick before 3:20 p.m. — what will be about halftime of Sunday’s college game.
The setting, with many fans sitting on what would be second base, is cool.
Weather wasn’t a consideration Monday and doesn’t figure to be Sunday with a forecast for temperatures in the low 70s.
Wind wasn’t a factor Monday, but the sun was.
At 2 p.m., the sun streams through the openings in the upper deck behind third base.
As the sun drops, about 3:30-3:45 p.m., it comes in through an opening above the plaza and field boxes.
The sun is blinding and will be a problem toward the end of the SDSU-USD game as it reflects off the floor. Several people suggested a giant tarp be placed over the opening to block the sun.
Still, the prep players didn’t seem to mind.
“This was an unreal experience,” Alaysia Styles, LCJD’s junior standout, said after the Torreys beat Mount Miguel 56-38. “The whole atmosphere was crazy. This is way different than anything we’ve done.
“We thought it would be cold, but it really wasn’t bad. The baskets looked far away, though.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to play here, and hope we can do something like this again.”
Styles led all scorers with 19 points while Washington-bound Mai-Loni Henson and Jayda Villareal each had 13. Satera Bates led Mount Miguel with 12.
Monday’s games were scrimmages and won’t count on the teams’ records.
Still, the first two games featured four of the better teams in the county.
“This is cool as heck, but I don’t know if I’d have agreed to play if it was a regular-season game,” said LJCD boys coach Ryan Meier.
“We’re an outside-shooting team, so this isn’t good for us. But you can’t beat the experience.”
It ended up being a good experience for the Torreys, beating San Ysidro 57-50 in overtime.
Bruce Edwards led LJCD with 15 points while Karlton Perry of San Ysidro was the game’s high scorer with 17. Francisco Zazueta added 13 for the Cougars.
“It was kind of funny playing outside,” Perry said. “And a little cold.
“Really, though, it was OK.”
Things to know if you attend today’s prep games — Central vs. San Diego Southwest girls (3:20 p.m.), Sweetwater vs. Valhalla boys (5:20 p.m.) and Helix vs. La Jolla boys (7:20 p.m.) — or if you have tickets to the USD-San Diego State game:
It will be cold, so bring a jacket.
The court, which was rented by the Padres, was installed backward. Press row is opposite where it should be with the substitution markers and coaches boxes on the wrong side. Plus, there is a fairly bad lip just off the court near the clock operator. Monday, the officials joked, telling LJCD coach Terri Bamford that’s where coaches receiving technical fouls would sit.
It’s a college floor — 94 feet long, 50 feet wide. That’s 10 feet longer and 8 feet wider than a high school floor. And there are three 3-point lines — college, boys high school and girls high school.
There are some dead spots on the floor.
Workers used Swifer mops to wipe the floor.
There is a nice Christmas tree sitting on what would be second base.
The giant scoreboard in left field is working, but fans sitting in the baseline seats at shortstop can’t see it, and the fans sitting in the second-base seats will have to turn hard to the right to get a view.
The streamer boards along first and third base will show the score.
There were no San Diego State or USD people at the ballpark Monday.
Padres president and CEO Mike Dee, General Manager A.J. Preller, assistant GM Josh Stein and Wayne Partello, senior VP of marketing, all stopped to see some of the prep action. “I have to admit, I came out and shot around for a couple of hours on Sunday,” said Dee. “It’s a pretty special atmosphere.”