Pair of foreign-exchange students share American moment together

By Colin Harris | Staff Writer Published:

The biggest story that came out of last week's Portage Trail Conference County Division showdown between Southeast and Windham was the Pirates capturing the division title.

Another story from that night, however, flew a bit further under the radar.

Both the Pirates and Bombers have a foreign-exchange student on their junior varsity rosters and the two teams decided to match the girls together in what was a fun moment for both sides.

The Southeast School District welcomed Swan Bredehorst from Germany this year, while Windham was joined by Italy's Francesca Tesa.

Southeast junior varsity coach Melinda Furr said last week's game was the best opportunity to reward Bredehorst for the hard work she's put in to learn the American game.

"Swan dressed for the first time last week, because we wanted to pay tribute to her sticking it out the whole season," Furr said. "When I heard that Windham had a foreign-exchange student as well, I thought what an opportunity this would be."

Furr said that the sport was foreign to both players entering this season, with coaches breaking down the game to the basic fundamentals.

"To show that dedication, coming from a different country, and to stick it out a whole season is really cool," Furr said.

Furr, along with head coach Bob Dunn have worked on making Bredehorst comfortable within the team setting, and part of that has come through some laughs.

"We'd joke with Swan because she's from Germany, but she said she'd never really seen basketball before. We'd ask her, 'Don't you know about Dirk Nowitzki'?" said Furr, referencing the Dallas Mavericks' German-born NBA superstar.

"But Swan has really come a long way since she came here and it helps that we have a good family atmosphere on this team," Furr added.

Windham head coach Gregg Isler echoed Furr's sentiment, crediting Tesa for her progress as a player.

"There has definitely been a sharp learning curve for her," Isler said. "But she's stuck it out and really come a long way."

Tesa is no stranger to athletics, however. In her native country, the Windham senior said she is an active swimmer.

"I've been swimming for 10 years and I swim a little here, but I have basketball now," Tesa said. "At the beginning, basketball was very hard, but I can do a lot more now.

"I just wanted to try something new, so I decided to try basketball," Tesa added. "I've made some new friends because of it."

Tesa's host family are Dave and Melissa Roubic of Windham.

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS

The Pirates have secured the County Division title entering tonight's final night of the regular season.

It is program's first championship since the 2007-08 season, which came when the team competed in the Metro Division.

On the other side of the PTC, the Metro Division title race is not quite over as one-loss leader Norton still has Kent Roosevelt to contend with tonight.

The Panthers enter the game holding a slim one-game lead over second-place Ravenna.

The championship scenario is simple: If Norton wins tonight, they claim the school's first-ever Metro Division title. If the Panthers lose, they will still be champs, but they will share the top spot with Ravenna, assuming the Ravens are victorious in their finale at home against Springfield.

The Spartans have just one division win on the season, but that happens to be Norton's only division loss of the season. It came on Jan. 16, when Springfield defeated Norton 52-49.

Ravenna has won the last three consecutive Metro Division titles.

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Email: charris@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9447

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