Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Australians participate in local basketball tourney

Sixteen basketball teams which included teams from Australia competed Thursday and Friday, December 28-29 in an exciting local tournament. The 4th Annual LCM/International Paper Classic was conducted at the Little Cypress Mauriceville High School.

A total of 32 games were played over the two days with each team taking part in four games during the tournament which served as a final preparation for the heart of the district action for the teams. The contests were equally divided between the newer Dr. Pauline Colburn Hargrove Gymnasium and the older Bear Cave Gym at the high school.

Orange county teams involved in the tournament included the host school Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears, the LCM junior varsity, the LCM freshmen team, and the Bridge City Cardinals. The schools from southeast Texas that played in the tournament were Hardin-Jefferson, Jasper, Port Neches-Groves, Woodville, and the Nederland junior varsity.

Other teams came from further away like Center, Cleveland, Splendora, and the Barbers Hill junior varsity. There were three teams of select players from Australia that came during what amounts to their summer break from school to participant in the tournament.

The 29 players chosen to play on the traveling teams from Australia met with the coaches twelve months ago. Talent on the part of each player is a key component, but so is the financial aspect for those that can afford to make the long trip and the various expenses involved. The composition of the teams come from the city of Bendigo in the Victoria region on the southeastern coast of Australia about 93 miles northwest of Melbourne the state capital of that area.

The players on the Australian teams range from 15 to 18 years of age with the younger ones composing the junior varsity team and the older boys making up the two teams designated as Australia 1 and Australia 2. "They're all great kids and they all play hard," Ben McCauley the coach for the Australia 1 Team exclaimed.

Traveling with the teams is Joe Hurst the Director of Coaches and Athlete Development from Bendigo. The other coaches were Cathy Manderson and Brett Campbell.

The tournament here in southeast Texas is just the first stop for the whole group which includes some parents and fans bringing the total traveling party to 45 people. McCauley elaborated, "We're here for the two days and four games, then we go down to New Orleans to watch young Dyson Daniels with the Pelicans who got drafted two years ago and he's a Bendigo youngster, and then we go to Dallas to play tournaments there."

The trip will help the players learn some new aspects for their game and much more. "It's an opportunity for these young men to get out of their comfort zone, experience a different culture, and everything that goes with it. That's what is great about the game of basketball you can travel the world and do various things. The kids are going to learn so much off the court as they are going to learn on the court coming into this trip," McCauley concluded.


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