Aussies meet NSA for hoop doubleheader

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nansemond-Suffolk head coach Clint Wright huddles with his team during NSA’s scrimmage versus Isle of Wight in November. The Saints and Lady Saints host the Brisbane (Australia) Boomerangs in a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m. tonight.

Nansemond-Suffolk’s two varsity basketball squads will host visitors from Brisbane, Australia Wednesday evening.

Thanks to Nansemond River the last few seasons, Australian high school hoop teams have been making Suffolk a regular tour stop. This will be the first such international basketball event at Nansemond-Suffolk, with the girls game tipping at 5:30 p.m.

The Brisbane Boomerangs flew into Raleigh, N.C. on Dec. 5 and have barnstormed their way through North Carolina and Virginia playing games almost every night.

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The Aussies flew into snow flurries in Raleigh. Brisbane, on the central, east coast of Australia, has an average winter (July) high temperature of 71 degrees.

The Boomerangs played at NSA’s Tidewater Conference mate Bishop Sullivan Catholic Monday night. The guests will arrive at NSA Wednesday morning to get a practice in and sightsee around the area between practice and the doubleheader.

It’s a unique opportunity says NSA head boys basketball coach Clint Wright, but it’s still meant to be an all-out, competitive game.

“We’ve come with a sense of urgency to every practice, scrimmage and game. Whether it’s a regular-season game, a conference game, a playoff game we always have to have the same sense of urgency,” Wright said.

NSA is hosting a dinner after the games. There will be a traditional gift exchange before tipoff, a custom for international basketball.

“But when the whistle goes, the goal is to win the game,” Wright said.

Wright hasn’t scouted Brisbane. He only has a roster showing the Boomerangs are a group of sophomores through seniors with the most height being three players at 6’4” or 6’5”. He’s guessing at the style of play they’re likely to bring.

“They’ll probably shoot the ball very well. We’ve been working on closing out on shooters better,” Wright, in his first season coaching the Saints, said.

“There will probably be a lot of pick-and-roll, slashing and a Princeton-like offense. It’s actually a lot of what we’re attempting to do so it could be like looking at a mirror of ourselves,” Wright said.

The Saints are 1-2 on the season and coming off a 60-49 loss at Windsor. The Lady Saints started 3-0 before dropping two games last week.

Brisbane is coached by Trevor Cook. This trip to the U.S. is Cook’s 15th with an Australian team. The Boomerangs toured Duke, the University of North Carolina and UNC-Wilmington while in the Tarheel State.

After finishing the North Carolina and Virginia part of the trip, and the basketball portion of the tour, the tour will stop in Los Angeles to sightsee before going back across the Pacific.