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Boys' basketball: Welcome to Bakersfield

March 26, 2010 |  1:16 pm

BAKERSFIELD--We made it up the Gravevine and into the heart of Bakersfield less than two hours after leaving my condo in Westwood, surviving some, well, interesting driving manuevers by a certain someone.

I thought trusty colleague Eric Sondheimer and I were in for an authentic Bakersfield experience when we stopped at Dave's Famous Bar-B-Que for lunch on the way to the state basketball championships.

Then I went online and discovered that the place has 12 locations--in California alone. We could have gone to Simi Valley and eaten at one, for goodness' sake.

But it was still a tasty spot. The waitress made a big deal out of explaining the nuances of six Famous Dave's barbecue sauces--I preferred the super spicy Devil's Spit. Eric had the barbecued chicken and I went for the ribs and beef brisket. Think I might have left some on the plate the way Eric hurried me out the door so we could get to Rabobank Arena more than an hour before the tip-off of the first game.

The arena is fairly nice, though a little dark. It kind of reminds me of the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. But this appears to be a one-and-done arrangement for Rabobank Arena, with the state championships moving back to Arco Arena in Sacramento next year.

After tonight's games we plan to try Buck Owen's Crystal Palace. If I later learn that there is another Crystal Palace along, say, the Sunset Strip then I will be truly disappointed.

--Ben Bolch