Small school, big arena for GAA

GLENDALE — It’s time for the members of the Glendale Adventist Academy boys’ and girls’ basketball teams to get ready for their next road games.

This time, however, the contests won’t be played in a tiny gymnasium in the San Fernando or San Gabriel valley.

Instead, the Cougars will make the trek to an upscale venue centered in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

That’s right, Glendale Adventist will face Redlands Adventist Academy at Staples Center in a pair of nonleague contests today. The girls’ game will tip off at 1 p.m., followed by the boys’ matchup at 2:30.

The schools will then get a chance to watch the NBA’s Washington Wizards battle the Los Angeles Clippers at 7:30 p.m.

Fans may watch all three games — including the Clippers vs. Wizards — for $25 per ticket.

Redlands Academy Athletic Director Jan Rice said former Packinghouse Christian Academy Athletic Director David Anderlik originally set up the event four years ago. Redlands Adventist’s teams played at Staples Center last season against Packinghouse Christian before watching the Clippers take on the Portland Trail Blazers.

Rice said Redlands Adventist boys’ basketball Coach Jason Hinkle, a Glendale Adventist graduate, was in favor of playing again at Staples Center and contacted his alma mater last summer about the possibility of the two schools meeting.

Glendale Adventist girls’ Coach Chris Lindstadt said the Cougars jumped at the opportunity.

“They asked us if we would be interested and we said yes,” said Lindstadt, who is also the school’s athletic director. “Our kids are excited and looking forward to the opportunity.

“It will be a good time for them and a great experience. Not a lot of kids make it [to the NBA], but it will be a chance for them to say that they once played on an NBA court.”

Glendale Adventist boys’ Coach Kevin McCloskey said playing at a major site can invigorate the teams.

Playing in Staples Center just might do that for the Cougars.

“First and foremost, we’d like to get a win,” McCloskey said. “We are really excited about it because we are going to bus the majority of our students there and it will be a neat experience for them.

“The players will get to see a [court] that they see on TV. It will be interesting to see them adapt to the environment with it being a bigger court and shooting the ball.”

Rice said it’s an opportunity that couldn’t be passed up, especially after Redlands Adventist experienced it firsthand in January.

“It’s pretty brand new to all of us,” Rice said. “The players love it and the fans get to come down close to the floor and watch the games.”

In order to secure the facility, Rice said the schools were required to put down a $400 deposit.

The schools will rent the court from noon to 4 p.m. Lindstadt said Glendale Adventist purchased $2,000 worth of tickets and sold them for $25 apiece.

In addition, the schools were required to each sell 200 tickets.

Rice and Lindstadt said the tickets were mostly sold to the players’ family members and the respective schools’ student bodies, faculty and administration.

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