Lady Panthers Welcome Australia

By Misty Boggs

Australia: land of wonder, strange beauty, and basketball. That last one may be a bit of a stretch for most, but to the Lady Panthers, it is very real.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Lady Panthers played against the Lady Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) basketball team during the boys’ Holiday Hoopfest tournament at Panther Gym.

The TIS is an athlete ambassador program based in Australia with two campuses that use a holistic approach to basketball. Every facet of education is focused on basketball and the development of an athlete that can compete internationally, on a national level team equivalent to the NBA and on to the Olympics. According to the website, the TIS works “to provide leadership and quality athlete and coaching services to Tasmania’s talented athletes to assist them to compete successfully on the international stage.”

The night before, both teams sat in the bleachers laughing, talking and learning from each other. Hours later, they were on opposite sides of the ball.

Australia pulled out the win against Lufkin, 46-39, but for the Lady Panthers, gaining an international experience was worth it. The foreign exchange included money and a few colloquialisms, such as learning what to call the restroom, how Australian states are broken down and a few legends both local and international. Instead of the stereotypical ‘g’day, mate’, one of the girls offered the East Texas version. Looking over her shoulder, she told the basketball players, “See ya’ll later.”

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