Eagles host Australia

Gifts are exchanged between Hood River and Australian players prior to the cultural exchange exhibition game.

Photo by Caleb Lundquist
Gifts are exchanged between Hood River and Australian players prior to the cultural exchange exhibition game.

The HRV Girls held a cultural exchange game on Tuesday when they hosted a team of all-star players from Melbourne, Australia. The game was scheduled as part of a series of games the Melbourne team is playing in the state; they had played in The Dalles the night before.

“Having the Australian Girls Basketball team visit us and compete was an excellent opportunity for our school and students to broaden their horizons,” said Trent Kroll, athletic director at HRV. “Experiences like this give our students an opportunity to become more globally educated with friends across the planet.”

The teams met prior to the game during a team dinner hosted by one of the Eagles, and exchanged gifts midcourt after the playing of both countries’ national anthems. Both flags were presented during the anthems as well. Then it was game time. The Australian team was a collection of the best players in Melbourne, while Hood River was playing with a stunted roster thanks to injuries keeping their star players sidelined. The Australian talent provided the Eagles with a greater understanding of competitive, aggressive basketball play.

“It was difficult to play them because they had so much experience, but it was fun,” said senior Barrett Ihde. “They showed us how you can play aggressive defense without fouling, which is something we struggle with.”

“They were calm and organized, moved really well,” said sophomore Morgan Baker. “They put pressure on people while still playing clean defense.” To put it lightly, the Eagles lost. This game was not concerned with stats or scoring however, but rather the experience for both teams. Being able to compete with a foreign team is a rare opportunity many high school teams never receive; Hood River was fortunate to host this Australian team and compete with the best players from Melbourne.

“It was a great warm up going into our first league game this Friday,” said head coach Donnie Herneisen. The Eagles played at Pendleton on Friday, the first league game of this season (results unavailable at press time.) Following that, they will host Ridgeview on Jan. 18.

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