Last week, the Grand Canyon boys basketball team upset periennel power St. Joseph's Nudgee College from Brisbane Australia, 39-37.
The undersized Phantoms used a tight zone defense to keep the much taller Aussies from getting the ball inside. St. Joe's starting lineup went 6 feet, 11 inches; 6 feet, 7 inches; six feet, five inches; six feet, four inches; and 6 feet, but despite the height difference the scrappy Canyon out rebounded the travel weary Nudgees 44-38.
Senior Bille Booth had his second consecutive double-double, scoring a team high 16 points and collecting 14 rebounds.
Dan Celis had 9 points and 8 rebounds, followed by Dan Trenchard with 8 points and 6 boards. Andres Velazquez did a good job coming off the bench and contributing 8 rebounds.
The Canyon shot well to open the game and had a 15-12 lead after the first quarter, but the taller Aussies started getting offensive rebounds that led to easy second chance points and took a 30-21 halftime lead.
The Phantoms turned up their defensive intensity and started rebounding to start the third quarter and held the Aussies to 4 second half field goals, outscoring them 18-8.
Head coach Dan Lopez said that this was a great experience for all of the players involved. Each St. Joe player had an escort from the Lady Phantoms and both teams and coaching staffs had a buffet dinner at the Quality Inn after the game.
"I really want to thank Ann Wren at the Quality Inn who gave us a great price for the buffet, the Grand Canyon High School Student Council and the Grand Canyon Booster Club both donated money to help pay for the meals as did the Grand Canyon basketball club," Lopez said. "I heard nothing but positive comments from all of our kids about the entire experience."
This is a good example that high school athletics can go beyond just winning, he added.
"Our kids were able to spend some quality time getting to know kids their age from an entirely different culture and we showed the Australians what a great community we are by being very gracious hosts," he said.