U.S. Youth Olympic Games Teams Advance To Medal Semfinals With Wins
U.S. Men Stifle Spain; U.S. Women Stop South Korea
Colorado Springs, Colo. • August 21, 2010
Whether it took adjusting to a new defense or just playing with a new level of intensity, both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Youth Olympic Games Teams figured out how to get past their opponents – and into the medal semifinals – in Singapore on Saturday.
Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall Prep/Scotch Plains, N.J.) scored a game-high 12 points to lead the U.S. men (5-0) to a 28-18 victory over Spain (3-2), while Amber Henson (Sickles H.S./Tampa, Fla.) scored 18 points and Kiah Stokes (Linn-Mar H.S./Marion, Iowa) added 10 to lead the U.S. women (5-0) to a 34-10 win over South Korea (3-2).
Both teams, now two wins away from winning gold medals, advance to the medal semifinals on Aug. 22. The U.S. men will take on Serbia (5-0) at 2:30 p.m. (All times are Singapore local, which is +12 hours from Eastern Daylight Time), while the U.S. women will get Australia (4-1) at 3:30 p.m.
For the men, against international rival Spain on Saturday, it was the team’s intensity and focus that head coach Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio) liked.
“I think all of these games at this point, especially today because it was Spain, we can expect to be very competitive,” Flannery said. “And I’m really proud of our guys today, because I think we’re starting to get it. We played extremely well today, and what we need to do is keep getting better and better every day. Today, we took a big step in playing very well.”
“Tomorrow against Serbia is going to be a huge challenge,” Flannery added. “I said it the first time I saw them that they’re the best here, and I have no qualms about saying it now. We’re one of the only teams that can beat them, but we have to play as perfect a 10-minute game as we can possibly play to beat them.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. women needed a few minutes to adjust to South Korea’s defense on Saturday before pulling away.
“I think they were a little hesitant at first, this being the medal round and all. But once we got into a rhythm, we just took off from there,” said U.S. women’s head coach Kathy Richey-Walton (Southwest DeKalb H.S., Ga.).
“I explained to them that tomorrow’s extremely important. But once you get to this point, they understand what’s at stake, so it’s not going to take much to get them to focus. They want it really bad, so we just need to make sure we have a good game plan to go forward, because the girls are really excited and motivated.”
Angelo Chol (Herbert Hoover H.S./San Diego, Calif.), who Flannery called ‘unstoppable’ on Saturday, had eight points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Brandan Kearney (Detroit Southeastern H.S./Detroit, Mich.) added six points and four rebounds, while K.C. Caudill (Brea Olinda H.S./Brea, Calif.) scored two points and grabbed three rebounds.
The U.S. men also held Spain to just 6-of-30 shooting and out-rebounded Spain, 21-10.
For the women, despite seeing a new defensive look from South Korea, where the Korean defenders sagged off the perimeter in an attempt to clog the paint, Henson still shot 7-of-11 from the field, and Stokes 5-of-7. Briyona Canty (Trenton Catholic Academy/Willingboro, N.J.) had four points, three rebounds and an assist, while Andraya Carter (Buford H.S./Flowery Branch, Ga.) added two points, three assists, three rebounds and a steal.
On defense, the U.S. women smothered South Korea, holding it to just 4-of-14 (28.6 percent) shooting, forcing nine turnovers and allowing only three rebounds
2010 Youth Olympic Games
Scheduled to take place every four years, the inaugural Youth Olympic Games men's and women's 3-on-3 basketball competition will feature a total of 40 teams from 38 different countries.
The basketball competition will be played on a half-court in two, five-minute periods. The first team to score 33 points, or the team with the most points at the end of regulation, wins. Each team operates with a 10-second shot clock, and the ball must be brought out behind the 3-point line to score. The player who first gets the ball over the 3-point line, though, has to make one additional pass before a basket can count.
The Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games are expected to include as many as 5,000 athletes and officials participating from 205 National Olympic Committees (NOCs), along with an estimated 1,200 media representatives, 20,000 local and international volunteers and more than 500,000 spectators. Athletes 14 to 18 years old are eligible to compete in 26 sports and take part in cultural and educational programs.