L.A. High Schools to Square off on Venice Basketball Courts

"I just thought, 'What's the most iconic place ever to play basketball?'" one coach said.

A North Hollywood and Santa Monica high school will play their first official game at the Venice Beach basketball courts on Saturday.

The outdoor matchup between Pacifica Christian of Santa Monica and Oakwood of North Hollywood will take place at 1 p.m. in what coaches say is one of the first officially sanctioned high school basketball games to be played at the Venice courts.

"We are a small school and always looking for things to heighten the experience for kids and make them feel special," Oakwood Athletic Director Eric Walter said in a statement. "I just thought, 'What's the most iconic place ever to play basketball?' Millions of people visit Venice Beach, it has all the jesters, jugglers and guys that walk on glass. It should be a fun thing."

Oakwood is currently in a 10-game winning streak and could be league champion if it can continue its success. 

"So far the weather looks like it will be good. It might be a little windy," Oakwood boys basketball coach Alex Barkouras said in a statement. "The biggest thing the players are worried about is messing up their shoes."

"We'll try and go down there and practice," he said. "We may not be able to get on the actual court but we will try and go outside and shoot outdoors."

One obstacle to overcome for the players will be to ignore the countless distractions of thousands of passersby and keep focused on the game, according to Pacifica Christian Athletic Director Kevin Kelsey.

"We practice a lot outside and we went down [to the Venice courts] on Wednesday so the players could get used to it," said Kelsey, who has lived in Venice for 15 years.


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