USA Boys 3x3 Advances To Medal Quarterfinals Of FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship
Sept. 10, 2011 • Rimini, Italy
The USA Basketball Girls 3x3 Team (7-0) remained undefeated on Saturday in the FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship, and battled Czech Republic through a first overtime to record a sudden-death 25-23 win that propelled the team into tomorrow's medal semifinal against Italy at 2 p.m. (all times listed are CEST, which is +6 hours from EDT). After finishing pool play on Saturday afternoon with a 6-2 record, the USA Basketball Boys 3x3 Team (7-2) was seeded as the No. 10 team headed into the medal Round of 16, where the USA topped Latvia 21-15 to advance to tomorrow's medal quarterfinals against Estonia at 12:30 p.m.
"The team is playing as hard as they possibly can," said Jamie Carey, USA Basketball Assistant Women's National Team Director and USA girls 3x3 team leader. "The India game was a lot closer than the score indicated. We struggled to start, but came back and played strong. And they certainly pulled together against Czech Republic. It was a wild finish, and we were certainly glad to get those last two wins."
"Against Czech Republic in pool play this morning, we had a chance to win, but missed several opportunities in the last few seconds of the game," said B.J. Johnson, USA Basketball Assistant Men's National Team Director and USA boys 3x3 team leader. " I know the team felt disappointed, but they really responded against Denmark, which game us some momentum against Latvia. They seem to understand that if we attack the basket, we have a good chance to win, and they did that against Latvia. We are continuing to get better every game."
The girls gold medal game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, and the bronze medal game will be played at 6 p.m.
"We played Italy on Friday, and I expect it will be a very physical game and a very loud gym," Carey said of the girls' semifinal matchup. "They are a skilled and strong team. Defending penetration is something we will need to do well in order to win."
The boys medal round semifinals will take place at 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, with the gold medal game at 7 p.m. and the bronze medal game at 6 p.m.
“Estonia is undefeated, and they are a very tough team,” Johnson said of the U.S. boys team quarterfinal opponent. “We did have a chance to watch them play today against Greece. I think we match up well. We need to continue to attack the basket, and if we do that we have a good chance to win, but we will have to play well.”
The USA girls started day two right where it left off Friday as it rolled past Sweden 20-14 to close out preliminary play with an unblemished 5-0 record. Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) poured in 10 points and Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, GA) was good for nine. Advancing as one of the top four teams out of preliminary round Pool C, the USA downed India 15-7 in the medal Round of 16. Davis led her side with eight points, Harper chipped in four and Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S. /Owensboro, Ky.) added three points. Next, in the medal quarterfinals, the USA battled Czech Republic through the first overtime and recorded a 25-23 sudden-death win in the second overtime. Davis tallied 13 points, followed by Harper with seven and Greenwell with five points. The victory put the USA in the medal semifinals against Italy on Sunday at 2 p.m. local time.
Sidelined with a sprained right ankle suffered on Friday, Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S. /Fishers, Ind.) did not play on Saturday and will not return to the court on Sunday.
"Both days of this tournament have been long days," Davis said. "We had four games yesterday, and we did pretty well, so that set us up in a good position for our three games today. We get better and better as each day goes on.
"In the last game against Czech Republic, it came down to sudden death and we really had to pull together to get that win," Davis continued. "Defense is obviously a big part of this game, and we got stops when it really mattered today. Slowly but surely we are putting all of the parts of this puzzle together and getting better with every game.
"It’s always hard to play somebody twice," Davis said of facing Italy in the semifinals, a team the USA beat 16-13 in preliminary play on Friday. "In the first game we played them our defense wasn’t that great, and I think that has improved since then. It will be a good game."
The USA Boys Team opened day two with a 16-11 win over South Africa. Malik Price-Martin (Monsignor Edward Pace H.S./ Miami, Fla.) led the way with nine points and Jordan Swopshire (SportsQuest Academy, Va./Ofallon, Mo.) added six. The USA's four game winning streak came to an end versus the Czech Republic, 18-16. The Americans trailed 11-7 after the first half and could not recover. Rondaé Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.) led the USA offense with nine points. The Americans closed out preliminary round play with a 15-14 win over Denmark. Jefferson finished with nine points, all from the foul line, and Swopshire and Price-Martin each contributed three points in the win. The victory improved the USA's record to 6-2, and the squad earned a 10th seed into the medal Round of 16. Taking on Latvia, the USA recorded a 21-15 win thanks in part to 11 points from Jefferson, five from Price-Martin, four from Swopshire and one point from Shaqquan Aaron (Taft H.S./Apple Valley, Calif.).
“The Czech Republic game today was really tough,” Swopshire said. “Rondaé (Jefferson) is one of our best players, and he was fighting through some pain. We were playing strong, but he couldn’t play in the overtime period, and we just didn’t close out the game. That loss hurt a lot, and we all understood that we didn’t want to feel the misery of losing again. We used our anger to our advantage and responded well and played hard to close out the day with two wins.
“I can’t wait for tomorrow,” Swopshire said of playing Estonia in the medal round quarterfinals. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Under FIBA's 3x3 rules, each game consists of two 5:00 periods. The team leading after completion of regular playing time, or the first team to score 21 points, is declared the winner. If the game is tied after the first overtime, a second and final overtime is played and the first team to score two points wins. Shots made outside the 3-point line are awarded two points, shots made inside the 3-point line are awarded one points, and each made free throw is worth one point. Additionally, a 12-second shot clock is being utilized.