USA Steamrolls Serbia 112-75 For Fifth Consecutive U17 Victory
-- U.S. Advances To Medal Quarterfinals With Group A No. 1 Seed --
July 7, 2010 • Hamburg, Germany
Facing adversity for the first time in five games, the USA U17 team responded, and then some. Lagging behind by nine points in the first quarter, the American U17s responded and behind another 12-man effort, rallied to steamroll Serbia (2-3) 112-75 Tuesday in its final preliminary round game. It was the fifth consecutive win in six days for the Americans, who now move on to the medal round quarterfinals on Friday.
“The quarterfinals are always pressure time. You can’t afford to slip up; you can’t afford to not be ready. We’ll have good preparation for whoever we play, but it’s going to be tough,” remarked Don Showalter, the USA U17 World Championship Team head mentor and Mid-Prairie High School (Iowa) head coach.
By finishing on top of the Group A preliminary standings the USA now advances to the July 9 medal round quarterfinals where the Americans are paired against Australia (3-2) Group B’s fourth place finisher. The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group moved on to the medal round quarterfinals. Quarterfinal round winners advance to the medal semifinals games on July 10 and the gold and bronze medal games to be contested on July 11.
“I thought Serbia did a lot of really good things in the first quarter. They got the ball out and ran against us, then I thought we settled down defensively and really played well defensively. We caused 23 turnovers and we only had 12 and I think that was a big factor in the game. I also thought our rebounding was exceptional,” said Showalter.
Serbia opened the contest looking to attack the USA’s aggressive pressing defense that had been so dominating and successful in the tournament’s first four games. Passing over and getting behind the U.S. press, Serbia sprinted from the opening tip and behind 10 points from forward Nemanja Bezbradica, jetted out to a 14-5 lead.
“We play together as a team and finally had to deal with adversity. The past games have been not too close but in this game we got down by a lot. We didn’t get down on ourselves. We didn’t get down on our team. We just brought it in at a timeout and played together and managed to win by a large amount,” said Tony Wroten, Jr. (Garfield H.S. / Seattle, Wash.).
“We just wanted to come out and play hard, pick it up, and try and bring some intensity to the game, stated Marquis Teague (Pike H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.) about coming into the game off the bench. “We tried to pick it up on defense more. They were getting a lot of easy layups at first and we just wanted to make sure we got back on defense and stopped the easy shots they were getting.” Serbia was still in control 22-15 with 2:13 to play in the first quarter when the adjustments made by Showalter and his coaching staff began to take effect. The United States mounted a 15-1 scoring run that saw the red, white and blue account for the final four points of the first quarter and 11 of the first 12 points in the second quarter.
With Serbia holding a 24-21 lead after conclusion of the game’s first 10 minutes, U.S. guard Chasson Randle (Rock Island H.S. / Rock Island, Ill.) nailed a 3-pointer just 14 seconds into the second stanza to even the score, then a throw-down dunk by Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick H.S. / Somerdale, N.J.) on the following possession pushed the U.S. into the lead for the first time in the game.
The U.S. never relinquished the lead from that point and completely crushed any hopes Serbia had for a win after outscoring the Europeans 31-9 in the second quarter.
Limiting Serbia to just 3-of-12 shooting in the second quarter and forcing five turnovers, when the dust had settled at halftime the scoreboard read 52-33 in the USA’s favor.
For all intents that was all there was to the game as the USA rolled through the second 20 minutes, outscoring Serbia 26-22 in the third quarter and 34-20 in the fourth.
“We knew coming into this game there would be some kind of adversity. They had a really good offense, we weren’t use to it and they came out and executed very well. Once we got use to it and we were able to put some full court pressure on them, we put them out of their comfort zone and we were able to come back,” said James McAdoo (Norfolk Christian H.S. / Norfolk, Va.).
Brad Beal (Chaminade College Prep H.S. / St. Louis, Mo.) had 13 of his team high 20 points in the first half, while McAdoo recorded 15 points, nine of those coming in the first quarter, and added 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals. The U.S. scoring was rounded off by Gilchrist, 14 points and seven rebounds; Tony Parker (Miller Grove H.S. / Lithonia, Ga.) and Wroten each tallied 11 points, respectively; and the double-digit scoring was capped by 10 points from André Drummond (St. Thomas More School / Middletown, Conn.).
The U.S. had 19 assists and 16 steals in the game, and shot 54.5 percent from the field. Forcing Serbia into 23 turnovers, the Serbs shot 47.0 overall and lost the battle on the glass by 10 (45-35),
“Serbia has started all of their games really strong and we went from our 2-2-1 press back into a man. At first they were getting some easy baskets off our full court press so we changed up to a straight man press and that clamped down on them pretty good. Then we got our running game going a little bit and got some steals and turnovers, and when we do that we’re pretty good.
“You expect James McAdoo to play like he did, he’s just unbelievable every game. But what I like is Michael Gilchrist, Tony Wroten, Chasson Randle and Marquis Teague, I think those four really came off the bench and gave us a boost in that second quarter and we expanded our lead out to 15 points when they came in. The mindset those kids have is pretty good.” In other results Wednesday, Poland nipped Canada 75-70 to remain a perfect 5-0; China (3-2) easily handled Egypt (0-5) 103-72; and Lithuania (4-1) slipped by Argentina (1-4) 74-71.
Serving as assistant coaches for the 2009-10 USA Developmental National Team and 2010 USA U17 World Championship Team are Herman Harried, head coach at Lake Clifton High School (Md.), and Kevin Sutton, head coach at Montverde Academy (Fla.).
“We understand that (win or got home), we know that, so we know we’ve got to come and play our best every game because we’re going to get everybody’s best shot. We’ve got to come out and compete, pick it up on the defensive end and rebound every game,” said Teague.