The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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South hosts Australian basketball team
Anne Sullivan

Forever friendships, international competition, and a once-in-a-life-time experience are all characteristics Scott Nemecek, Varsity Girls’ Basketball Head Coach, used to de- scribe the opportunity to play against Western Heights, an Australian basketball team.

On Nov. 21, both boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball teams took part in a game against a travel basketball team from Melbourne, Australia, Philip Ralston, Varsity Boys’ Basket- ball Head Coach, said. Both South basketball teams won as the the girls came away with a 44-37 victory and the boys won 79 -54. Ralston explained that both South varsity basketball teams got the opportunity to compete against this school because of a connection he had with Chris Sparks, a professional coach from New Zealand and Australia. Ralston explained that Sparks then received the opportunity to kickstart this overseas program.

“When he came back to the United States, he became part of an organization that was trained to bring a few clubs and different school programs from Australia to the United States,” Ralston said. “So whenever they [have] called me and said that they had a school that was interested in playing, I [have] never said no.”

This is not the first time the South boys’ basketball program has faced international competition from Australia, Ralston explained. Three years ago, the team had the opportunity to play a school from Sydney, Australia, and the positives that Ralston took away from that game are why South took part in the game this year.

“It [is] a great cultural experience for our kids to meet kids from an- other country who enjoy playing the same sport that they love,” Ralston said. “It gives us a chance to play a blind game against someone [when] we do [not] know how good they are. It [is] usually a little different style of basketball than we are used to play-

ing and that makes it a fun event.” As this experience was full of new friendships and forming bonds with athletes from the other side of the globe, Cadence Cheng, girls’ varsity basketball guard, explained that see- ing the game from the Australians’ point of view was different. In Aus- tralia some of their basketball rules are different from the rules in the U.S. and that showed in this game, Cheng said.

“[The Australians] kept getting called for travels because the traveling rule is a bit different there,” Cheng said.

To add on to the great cultural experience that South athletes engaged in this year, Cheng explained that making friendships and talking with the Australian athletes was the high- light of her experience.

“I liked talking to the [Australians] and hearing their accents,” Cheng said. “I also liked learning about the differences between the U.S. and Australia, [which made me] want to travel to Australia.”

Similarly to the different style of basketball that had to be played be- cause of the lack of opportunity to prepare for the game, Nemecek ex- plained that forming a game plan was challenging because there was no film on the team to help aid them.

“As coaches, we went into [the game] kind of blind, [but it still was] a great experience,” Nemecek said. “In a weird way, sometimes we over prepare and over analyze [and] may- be we should just go out there and [do] what we do.”

However, Nemecek explained that the friendships formed throughout the couple of days the Australians were in town, outweighed the out- come of the game.

“All the girls were hanging out in the athletic conference room, we had a t-shirt exchange, and everybody was talking and taking pictures,” Nemecek said. “And that was the best part of it. [This will be] the experience that the girls will remember 30 years from now.”

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