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December 17, 2013

In The Paint boys basketball column: North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie enjoyed rare preseason

In the Paint

Matt Jenkins

The North Shore Tech/Essex Aggie boys basketball team enjoyed a great experience last week before it opened the regular season against Greater Lawrence on Friday.

The Bulldogs had the rare opportunity to host a scrimmage against a team from Australia.

An email found its way to North Shore Tech coach Jody Norton about setting up a scrimmage with a team from Australia that would be touring the United States. The timing worked out well, so North Shore played against the Sydney Grammar School team in a meeting that should help the Bulldogs early in the season.

North Shore ended up dropping a 44-43 decision, but came away a much better team.

”It helped us learn about ourselves and what we need to work on,” said Norton, whose team lost its opener to Greater Lawrence. “It was extremely helpful and an unbelievable cultural experience.”

Sydney Grammar School is a secondary school (grade 7-12) that plays a level of basketball similar to Division 4 high school here in the states. Of course with the seasons reversed, Sydney just entered its summer vacation.

The team, which came with full varsity and junior varsity squads, traveled to Vancouver, then stopped in Minnesota before moving on to Boston. They also scrimmaged Stoughton, and from here will move on to New York then Orlando before heading home.

Sydney Grammar is a high-level academic school known for its music program.

Basketball is a universal language, but the teams do play with slightly different rules.

”In the U.S. we try to win with pure athleticism. They play a team game, share the basketball and are intelligent. They had size. The Australian guys, the coaches, were big dudes,” Norton laughed.

”They were super guys, and it was pretty comical with the rules. They don’t play the ball hitting the rim on free throws. We had a close game down the stretch, it was a one-point game, and their coach asked me if he called a timeout does he get to advance the ball (like the NBA). It was kind of funny like that, but really cool.”

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