Aussies Sharing the Court with Bullitt East

Kings School point guard Ben McLeod shoots over the Charger defender as he tried to bring his team back from a large halftime deficit.

Ainsley Gordon and Lauryn Smith

American basketball, meet Australian basketball.

The Chargers face off against the Kings School from Australia.

The Aussie Kings were able to travel to Bullitt East with the help of the Aussie Basketball Travellers company. While in Mount Washington, the Aussies stayed in the homes of the Bullitt East players. At the end of the game, Bullitt East pulled out another win.

The Aussie Basketball Travellers is a company that is based in Australia. This gives high school clubs and groups a chance to have an experience of a professional basketball team by touring in the U.S. According to the Aussie Basketball Travellers website, “Some of the popular destinations include: Alaska, Hawaii, Kentucky, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, North Carolina, The Northwest, San Francisco, Texas, Washington DC.”

“As a basketball team we came to improve and to become better in a different environment. So, American basketball is much different than Australian basketball. It’s faster and it’s more contact. In Australia it’s a lot different and it’s a lot less competitive, so no one wants it as much as they do over here. And the school wants to come to enrich our cultural experience and diversify our range of how we understand the world,” said Ben White, a sophomore at the King’s School in Parramatta.

Moving all over the country gives the high schoolers a chance to interact with the different cultures of America. “I like the people. They are a lot different to Australians. They are more interactive and more happy to come up and have a conversation with you than in Australia. I also like the different way of culture, the different way people act,” said White.

“This experience for me personally was very cool. I enjoyed learning everything that they did different from us in the United States. We really loved meeting them and now we always know that we have friends from a different country if no one ever did before,” said junior basketball player, Sean Johnson.

The team has been in America for two and a half weeks. So far, the team has been to different parts of Texas. “We arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth and then we went south to Buffalo, near Centerville and then we went San Antonio, then Houston and then we flew to here,” said White.

The Australian team played St. Xavier High School the following day. The team flew back to Australia Saturday night just in time for the holidays.

Some of the Bullitt East basketball players, such as Sean Johnson and Connor Green, have been housing the Australian players. “Connor Green and I hosted two people, Marco and Tom. They were really nice people and I enjoyed having them with us,” said Johnson.

“Hosting and housing the player was a big thing for our team. We really got to know them very well and we overcame some of our fears of meeting new people that we have never seen before,” said Johnson.

The Australian players stayed with the players from East to get a good experience with people from America.

At Bullitt East, the game took place on Friday, December 16. Through all of the differences between the two basketball teams, the Chargers were able to take the win with the final score of 76-31. After the game, the Bullitt East boys took the Aussie players out to eat at Half-Times Sports Bar and Grill in Mount Washington.

Even though a competitive game was just played, the two teams were able to bond and make friends from those who live across the world. This was a once in a lifetime experience for the current students of Bullitt East. Not only did the basketball team get to learn from and play with other teens from another country in their own high school, but the students of Bullitt East got to talk to and teach the American culture to the Aussies. This will be an unforgettable experience for the Charger Nation.