More than basketball learned at exhibition game with Aussies

December 5, 2012

By Michele Mihalovich

Contributed
Mount Si Wildcat basketball players pose with the Mandurah Magic team, featuring club players from Australia, after the Magic beat the Wildcats, 50-28.

The Mount Si High School girls basketball team knew within the first few minutes that the girls Down Under do things a bit differently.

The Wildcats hosted a Nov. 28 exhibition game against the Mandurah Magic, a club team from Australia, which, defensively, played with the ferocity of Tasmanian Devils and walked away with a 50-28 win.

“They came out very strong and physical with a lot of speed,” said Elizabeth Prewitt, starting guard for the Wildcats, who turned out to be the top Wildcat scorer that night with 14 points.

“We could learn a lot from their defense, because they were so up in your face,” she said. “But I was impressed with their offense, too. They don’t jog to the basketball, they sprinted hard.”

Prewitt said that after watching the Magic, she’s going to apply that hard sprint play to upcoming games.

Wildcat coach Megan Botulinski was also impressed with the Magic defense, but pointed out, “That was a select group of athletes we were playing against, so it was helpful for us to gain experience of playing against such talent.”

She said Australia doesn’t have high school teams like we do in the states; most of the youths there play with private clubs.

“Their coach is a full time coach for their club organization — that’s his job,” said the Mount Si Spanish teacher, who also helps coach the Wildcat track team.

“Plus, they had some very tall girls, and we’re not super tall, so it was good experience for us to practice defending against mismatches,” she said. “It’s a difficult thing to do, but I’m glad we had an exhibition game to practice that.”

But really, the best part of playing a team of girls from another continent is exposing the players to a different culture, Botulinski said.

After the game, the Wildcats and Magic shared pizza at Mount Si, and then several Wildcats hosted Magic players at their own homes.

Prewitt hosted Magic players Marisa Clifford and Taylah Tomlinson at her Snoqualmie home.

“Overall, the experience was really cool,” she said. “The girls were really great to hang out with and play against.”

Prewitt said the Australians were pretty shocked at how big MSHS is, and that the school has two stories and students get to buy food right at the school.

She said the girls told her that Australian high schools generally have about 500 students, and that classes are held in “pods,” that the students walk outside from one pod to another, and that they eat their lunches outside.

Prewitt said the girls visited Snoqualmie Pass before the game, and many of them got to see snow for the first time.

“They also got to experience our wet and windy season,” she said. “I think they preferred their sunny and warm climate.”

Botulinski said the Australians were heading off to play teams in other Washington areas, as well as Oregon, California and British Columbia — it’s summer in Australia, so the girls aren’t missing school.

“Overall, it was a very fun and enjoyable experience, even though we didn’t come out with a win,” she said. “We did come away with a very memorable and fun time.”

The Wildcats preseason record so far is 1-3. They play their conference opener at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Mount Si against Bellevue High School.

 

Michele Mihalovich: 392-6434, ext. 246, or editor@snovalleystar.com.

 

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