Ipswich Grammar School basketball players pose in front of tourist attraction Universal Studios as they enjoy a day off on their successful sporting tour of California.
Ipswich Grammar School basketball players pose in front of tourist attraction Universal Studios as they enjoy a day off on their successful sporting tour of California.

Basketballers enjoy sterling tour

VENICE Beach, Hollywood, Disneyland and impressive performances against the best young basketballers in California – Ipswich Grammar School’s (IGS) basketball fraternity must be enjoying its school holidays.

Close to 30 of Ipswich’s best basketballers have arrived home from a two-week playing tour of California.

All three Grammar basketball teams (Year 8, Year 9 and 10 and Year 12) played several matches against various high schools across the famous American state.

The senior team fared best, stepping off their return flight with an impressive six and three record. Ipswich Grammar senior basketball coach Michael Wellings said it was an amazing trip.

“We did really well on the court and had a great time doing all the touristy things, too,” Wellings said. “It was just a great experience. We went to a town of 60,000 people that live through their high school basketball team because they are the only sporting team in the town.

“This small high school had a 2000 seat gymnasium to cater for their fans. It was bizarre.”

The IGS students and staff watched the Los Angeles Clippers play the Utah Jazz at the famous Staples Centre which is a regular haunt for the likes of Jack Nicholson and Justin Timberlake.

They also watched the Anaheim Mighty Ducks play an NHL match and visited Universal Studios.

The IGS senior team fared well in last year’s GPS competition and for the first time in a decade was challenging for the title.

Their form translated to foreign turf.

“We played the 2009 California high school champions and only lost by nine points, which was a great effort,” Wellings said.

“That school had 2500 people in it. They thought they would beat us by 50 points but we hung in there with them and showed a lot of heart.

“Throughout the tour we showed a lot of heart actually.

“Every school we played had at least one player that will play division one in the American college system.

“We matched them athletically which surprised them. We have four or five guys on our team that can dunk.

“Where we did not match up was in defensive intensity.

“All three of our teams played well and showed that we should have a fruitful next four years.”

Centre David Prior was the team’s best performer, Wellings said.

“He was blocking a lot of shots and he received a lot of interest from American colleges while he was there.”

Outstanding point guard Jason Ralph was also sought after by colleges in California and even met with top-level coaches.



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