International basketball came to the Palmer Park Community Center recently with a two-day visit by a 17-and-under team from the state of Victoria in Australia.

The Down Under team were participating in an 11-city tour of the United States sponsored by the Sports for Understanding organization.

The Australians left home Nov. 21 and played games in Hawaii, California, Arizona and Nevada before coming east. After leaving Palmer Park, they traveled to Oregon and Vancouver before heading home.

The coaches of the Palmer Park team expected the kids from Australia to be weak on basketball skills and arranged a clinic as part the visitors' activities.

But the Australian players didn't need a clinic. In fact, they may have taught the kids from Palmer Park a thing or two. They won two of the three games played against the Palmer Park teams.

"We usually run and shoot very well," said Australian Coach Ross Close, whose brother David had a team-high 26 points in one game.

"The school leagues aren't very tough {in Australia}," said Close, whose teams play an Australian club schedule from February through October. "The club leagues are tough and most of the kids play for a club." The club season lasts from February until October.

The visitors defeated the Palmer Park 15-and-under team, 67-52. They split two games against the Palmer Park 17-and-under team, winning 90-75, and losing the finale in their Washington area stay, 84-72.

In defeating the local 15-and-under team, the Australians took a 21-8 lead and remained in front, 39-18, at halftime.

Palmer Park's Tigers had a tough time shooting over the tall Australian front line, which included three six-footers. The Tigers finally got their running game together for a few minutes and cut the lead to 39-22 with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter.

But later in the period, the Australians demonstrated their quickness by causing four straight turnovers and extended their lead.

"They set it up, moved around well and took very good shots," said Palmer Park Coach George Austin.

In the first game against the Palmer Park 17-and-under team, the Australians often used the pump fake under the basket to confuse their opponents and draw fouls.

"They are not that athletic, but they are very smart," Palmer Park Coach Curtis Richardson said of the visitors. "They were anxious to block shots and they went for everything."

The next day, Palmer Park made some adjustments to win and they proved successful. Palmer Park also added some reinforcements, one of which was Carl Jackson, who scored 39 points.