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Birmingham church sends hoops team to Netherlandscomment (0)

May 24, 2007

By Bryan Gill

A group of high school basketball players from Birmingham recently took its game on the road — all the way to the Netherlands.

The boys team from Central Park Christian School — part of Central Park Baptist Church, Birmingham, in Birmingham Baptist Association — spent a week shooting hoops and visiting historical sites as part of a "sporting and cultural exchange" with students there.

According to head coach Levan Parker, the team was invited by The American School of The Hague (ASH) to participate in a series of basketball games to promote intercultural awareness and understanding.

"It was a rare opportunity, and we are very appreciative to Central Park Baptist Church for the opportunity to represent the United States," he said. Members of the church donated money toward the trip.

Parker, headmaster of the school and associate pastor of the church; his two assistant coaches, Donovan Broadnax and Jaisen Bell; and Central Park Baptist Pastor Jerry Curry accompanied the nine team members.

"They conducted themselves like gentlemen, and I was very proud of them," Curry said, adding that most of the team members had never been out of the country.

The first two of four games were played at ASH, home of the reigning International Schools Sports Tournament’s Division II boys basketball champion. Despite that distinction, the Central Park team still won its game with ASH.

"They were bigger than us but we were quicker," said team captain TaCorey Lambert. The Central Park players also won against teams from Amsterdam, Voorberg and Voorhout.

"Our young men played very well and won all four games," Parker said. "Only one game was close."

When the other teams were not playing, they watched Central Park play.

"They brought us special Dutch cookies and cheered for us," Parker said. "All the teams invited us back and expressed their sincere appreciation to us for coming."

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