By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor The best of what high school sports represents, and the camaraderie between two countries with very good will towards the other was on bright display Saturday night at Poly. St. Luke’s Grammar of Sydney, Australia, defeated Poly, 46-40, in an exhibition match up. Joe Hale led St. Luke’s with 13 […]
By BRIAN REED-BAIOTTO, Sports Editor
The best of what high school sports represents, and the camaraderie between two countries with very good will towards the other was on bright display Saturday night at Poly.
St. Luke’s Grammar of Sydney, Australia, defeated Poly, 46-40, in an exhibition match up.
Joe Hale led St. Luke’s with 13 points, Olly Bowman added 11 and Murray Wright chipped in with 10 points.
St. Luke’s is about a week into its 10-day trip to the United States.
They went 2-3-1 in their six games that spanned Arizona, San Francisco, Calabasas and finished up in Pasadena.
The experience has not only helped St. Luke’s improve their game, it’s also brought the young men and girls (both genders brought teams) much closer as friends and teammates.
St. Luke’s had already visited Alcatraz in San Francisco and the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
But that’s not the end of their fun.
Today (Sunday), despite the game being a sellout, the group from Australia is going to the Oakland Raiders vs San Diego Chargers in an NFL match up in San Diego.
Early next week, before hopping on a plane for the 7,500 mile flight home, St. Luke’s players and coaches will visit Disneyland in Anaheim and Magic Mountain in Valencia.
St. Luke’s coach Gareth Newman is in the U.S. for the 14th time, but most everyone on the trip was making their first venture within the United States.
“On the court it was great. We play the same teams regularly back home,” Newman said. “To go to different parts of America and see the way you guys (Americans) play basketball was great. We were pretty evenly matched in each game and had a blast. I love getting out to the Grand Canyon, and to see the look on the kids faces when they walk up that rim and go ‘wow.’ We were treated brilliantly. Right from the first experience (first game) by the end of it, kids were exchanging Facebook addresses.”
Poly (7-1 overall, 1-0 in league) does not see this game count against their record, but the shooting was putrid.
The Panthers shot 27-percent from the field, and made just 4 of 24 on their 3-point attempts.
John Genske had a game-high 14 points, but the senior was the first to say how poorly they shot.
Genske himself made just 6 of 22, and was 0 for 8 from behind the 3-point arc. He did have 10 rebounds, but turned the ball over 7 times.
“It was really good. They had one of the biggest lineup’s we’ve faced,” Genske said. “They did a good job of getting their guys back and forcing us into a half-court game. This game was good preparation for us too. We have to be a lot more active inside the paint.”
Ryan Bowen scored 13 points and Jackson Hayes had 7 points and 6 steals.
Hale led St. Luke’s in scoring and talked about the trip so far.
“Loved the experience playing against much bigger schools and better competition in the States,” Hale said. “Going to the schools was memorable for me and seeing what it’s like to go to school and college in America. It’s been a dream. Everyone is much closer. The lifestyle out here is what stood out here in America. The food is great and they give such big portions.”
Bowman is also having the time of his life.
“It was a good game. They (Poly) hustle a lot,” Bowman said. “The 3-point line is shorter here. The culture and accents are fun (out here). The shopping has been fun and things are much cheaper. The food is really good. I’ve never seen an NFL game so I am really looking forward to it.”
The game was competitive and both teams wanted to win and played with intensity, but there was also a jovial atmosphere as well.
Poly football star Brady Carter was seen dancing in the stands when music played and the St. Luke’s fans tried to match Carter’s effort from the other side of the gym.