Mount Si and Australian girls mix hoops and culture in exhibition game, 11-29

Mount Si’s girls basketball team gave it their best efforts last night in their exhibition game at home in Snoqualmie against the Mandurah Magic from Australia, but the Magic had the last laugh, thanks to strong defense and solid three-point shooting. Still, though, both sides had fun and learned a lot about each other as well.

Mandurah blew out to a 15-4 lead after one and cruised to a 50-28 win behind 14 points from center Ashlee Sidebottom, one of several 16-year old players on the Magic’s roster which features high-school aged girls from 15 to 17. Even though these girls are all high school age, there is no such thing as high school ball in Australia. “We run a club-based system; we don’t have school based ball,” said Magic head coach Jason Chalk, who added their program consists of several different youth club teams at various age levels.

Wildcat coach Megan Botulinski also understood what was important. “We always want to win, but the big picture here was just to have fun, have a new experience and just work on some things,” she said.

At the end of that first quarter, Mandurah’s Ashlee Norman hit a half-court shot which came after the buzzer, so while the Magic didn’t score any points from that basket as a result, the moment was one that likely will end up being a highlight of their trip, which will last for the next 3 ½ weeks and include stops in Portland and Los Angeles before heading back home to Mandurah, which is a city located on the western Australia coast south of Perth, which is that region’s largest city.

The Magic’s coach said their trip is about mixing in basketball and education. “We want to come and play the best and see where we rate in the scheme of things, but also from a cultural point of view, the girls get to see the way you guys live,” Chalk said.

The Wildcats worked to close the gap in the second quarter, but Mandurah went on a 10-2 run to close the half and held a 27-14 lead at halftime, a lead which grew as the second half went on. Elizabeth Prewitt led Mount Si with 14 points.

The Mandurah players are also looking to have an experience which will last a lifetime. “I think that we’re all playing as a team. This is our last time just playing together, and I think we’re going to learn a lot from playing against different countries, we’ve never done that before, and yeah, we’re going to see a lot of things that we’ll remember for ages,” said Magic guard Maddy Pettit, who finished with six points on the contest.

Moving forward, Pettit indicated the players have many options in their native land. “We have a local SBL team (semi-pro team), the Mandurah Magic, and some of us will go into that, which is the next level for us; others want to come here to play college and some of them will never play again. This will be their last time to play,” she said.

While in the Valley, Chalk told the SVSJ they got to see a lot of the local sights, including Snoqualmie Falls, and also made a trip up to Snoqualmie Pass to see the snow on the ground up there, something which, for many of the players, was in itself a new experience, according to the coach.

This was the second time in the past several seasons that Mount Si’s girls’ basketball team hosted an Australian team for an exhibition, and Botulinski hopes to do it again. “I did it when I was in high school, so immediately when I was contacted if we wanted to play them, I just jumped at the chance,” the coach said. “Even talking to the girls right when they arrived, they just kept looking around our school, their eyes were big, they wanted to hear about things that we do.”

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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