The Knox Basketball tour in the USA proved to be successful and enjoyable for both the students and the staff.
The squad featured 26 students ranging from Years 9 to 12 and four staff members; Chuck Ardron, David Cobb, Dom Finlay and Jason Strong, who departed Sydney on 3 December and headed for Chicago, Illinois.
The first stop was Oswego East High School where the boys experienced the American life through homestays with students of the high school. The boys attended school for a day with their hosts for a true emersion into American culture. The Oswego students were thrilled to have international visitors and our boys were equally as thrilled to meet their cheerleading teams.
The boys quickly gained the status of ‘super stars’, experiencing a small taste of fame, being approached by local TV and newspapers for interviews. Despite the attention, MIC of Basketball, Dom Finlay was impressed with the boys’ behaviour.
“In all my time as a Knox employee, I have never experienced such well-behaved students... a credit to some wonderful parenting.”
The competition on the court was strong as Knox faced off against Naperville North and Central High Schools. Despite amazing performances by all three teams (Freshman, Junior Varsity and Varsity) Knox went down in five games, with the Junior Varsity team defeating Naperville North 60-48.
The game at Benet Academy was a fantastic experience for the boys are the crowd supported both teams emphatically. Unfortunately Knox went down again across all three grades.
Champaigne and the University of Illinois were other stops of the tour, where the boys witnessed a college basketball training session and were amazed at the skill and hardworking athleticism of college athletes.
The next opponents were the small school of Olympia, in the Illinois ‘corn belt’ where the Varsity team picked up their first win of the tour and the Junior Varsity team had an easy win.
The second school of the day was Peoria, a school 40 minutes down the road. The gym was packed with spectators and included a full school band to create a phenomenal atmosphere. Unfortunately all three teams lost with the Freshman and Junior Varsity teams losing by a mere 1 or 2 points.
Along with competitive basketball, the boys had some fantastic opportunities for some sightseeing. They saw two college basketball games between NCAA Div 1 teams, Illinois v Coppin-State and UCLA v East Washington.
After spending ten days in Illinois, the group headed for LA where the boys cruised around Muscle and Venice beaches on tandem bikes, absorbing the local scenery. This was followed with some shopping in Santa Monica. A major highlight was of course an enjoyable day spent at Disneyland. The last stop was the Hollywood Walk of Fame and some outlet shopping before the long venture home.
“The tour has been awesome for the boys on and off the court” said Dom Finlay. Overall the trip was a fantastic athletic opportunity for all of the boys, and an enjoyable tour for both staff and students.