BRATTLEBORO >> Thirty-one years after Clark W. Griswold uttered the famous words "Hey look kids, there's Big Ben" over and over during National Lampoon's European Vacation, Terry Merrow will get his chance to reenact the scene.
The Leland & Gray varsity girls basketball coach is taking a group of Vermont players, known as America's Team, to London to play six games from June 21-28. The idea is to promote the sport of basketball and promote goodwill between American and foreign student-athletes.
"I think we have a really good team put together. We have a lot of quickness and I'm really excited about our talent," stated Merrow, who was nominated and later selected to run the team. "We will look to run the ball. We will use some full-court press and man. We have some really good outside shooters."
Whitchester's Phoebe Parrish and West Rutland's Brooke Raiche — a couple of 1,000-point scorers — are two of the eight players on the roster. Parrish reached the milestone with a 26-point outburst against Arlington last December and Raiche got to a grand with a layup against Proctor in February.
Coach Merrow's team, which is made up of eight high school students in the state, will be raising money for its trip using a free-throw shooting event at West Rutland High School on Sunday night, from 5-7. Each player will attempt 100 foul shots and spectators will be able to sponsor an athlete by providing a monetary amount for each made basket.
This area will be represented in London by Leland & Gray teammates Caroline Tietz and Jessie Stockwell. Tietz scored 201 points for the Rebels last season and was third on her team in rebounds, while Stockwell finished with 138 points, led the Townshend team in assists and also took seven charges.
"Caroline is a joy to have on a team. She plays with such emotion and determination. Her tenacity on defense is infectious," coach Merrow said. "Jessie did anything and everything asked of her. Her biggest attribute to this team is her unconditional commitment and her perseverance."
Mill River's Jessica Audy, Halle Coloutti of Fair Haven, West Rutland's Julia May, and Ashley Wilcox of Windsor are also members of America's Team.
"It's a great opportunity to play a sport that I love playing," said Stockwell, who will get her first taste of International rules and a 24-second shot clock.
The Green Mountain girls and coach Merrow might also get a chance to see the things that were on Clark W. Griswold's itinerary in 1985, including Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben.