Emmanuel's Ritzema tabbed for Australian tournament

By Josh Sigler

Emmanuel Christian junior Preston Ritzema has been part of the basketball program’s last three state titles.

Now, he will have the chance to showcase his talents in Australia.

Ritzema has been Invited by Down Under Sports to represent Indiana on the organization’s boys basketball team.

Ritzema will depart for Queensland, Australia, on July 14 to compete down under for individual honors and a team championship title.

Each participant must raise money to cover the cost of the 10-day Australia tournament package.

Ritzema explained that the school received a letter saying he was chosen to represent Indiana in the Down Under Sports annual basketball tournament.

“It means a lot to represent the community,” Ritzema said, “and to be able to show my basketball abilities for Indiana in the tournament.”

Ritzema said that playing basketball has helped him develop his leadership skills, as well as his ability to represent Christ.

Ritzema’s teammates will be from other states in the U.S., which will be competing against other teams from Austrailia and around the world.

Down Under Sports was founded in February 1989, based upon the dream of a New Zealander by the name of George O’Scanlon.

O’Scanlon fell in love with athletics, especially American football, growing up in his native country of New Zealand.

His desire over the years has been to promote football, not only to the people of New Zealand, but also to Australia where he lived for many years.

That is why O’Scanlon started the Down Under Bowl, which eventually led to the establishment of the Down Under Hoops Classic and the Down Under International Games.

The Down Under Sports programs use the common language of sports to bridge the continents and provide a forum for athletes from around the globe to compete head-to-head in the sport they love.

During the past 30 years, Down Under Sports has had the opportunity to share the land down under with tens of thousands of individuals from across the United States.

The 2019 Down Under Sports program will include competition in football, cheer, cross country, golf, track and field, basketball, volleyball and soccer.

Down Under Sports’ goal is to continue to provide athletes who excel in their sport the opportunity to experience the culture, beauty and grandeur of the land down under all within the framework of spirited and intense competition.

Ritzema is seeking donations for the trip. Those interested in donating can do so by giving online at, or sending checks or cash by mail to 1499 E. Baumauer Rd, Wabash, Ind., 46992.

Posted on 2019 Apr 09