Walk about 50 yards past the white Our Lady Of Guadalupe sculpture in Memorial High’s main hallway, then turn left and into the 71-year-old gymnasium where they say a prayer and bless themselves before every boys and girls basketball game.
To follow is an unspoken but oft-applicable scripture: “Thou shalt not win in our little House of Horror.”
It is there, with a cozy capacity of 1,158, that fans sit on top of a court short of regulation in length, and the wooden rafters are original, as are the light fixtures, though the bulbs have been upgraded.
Wall panels are new, as is the striping on the court.
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Nice, but, overall, not a comfortable atmosphere for the opposition.
“I don’t know how many points it’s worth, but people walk in and it’s kind of a wow factor,” says coach Brad Roznovsky, whose Panthers boys are 16-1 at home in two seasons. “Nowadays, most gyms are much bigger. It’s very different to play here. Our players love it and there’s a lot of history.”
He says this near the venue’s west wall, which hangs the retired jersey numbers of Jackie White (42) and Roscoe (44) and Clifton (42) Pondexter.
Mt. Shasta’s girls and Del Oro-Loomis’ boys will experience the gym Saturday in a Northern California Regional quarterfinal doubleheader.
Memorial’s sixth-seeded girls (24-8) will play No. 14 Mt. Shasta (25-5) of the Northern Section in Division V at 5 p.m., followed by the Panthers’ No. 5 boys (26-6) against No. 13 Del Oro (17-14) in D-II at 7 p.m.
Major road upsets in the regional first-round games by Mt. Shasta and Del Oro allowed a Memorial repeat doubleheader at home three nights after the Panthers’ girls defeated No. 11 Mariposa County 51-39 and their boys closed with a 23-11 run behind Lunden Taylor to conquer No. 12 Las Lomas-Walnut Creek 68-55.
On the same night, Mt. Shasta shocked No. 3 St. Bernard’s-Eureka 59-52 while Del Oro was beating No. 4 Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland 62-55.