USA Men’s And Women’s 3x3 U18 Teams Undefeated After Day Two
September 27, 2013 • Jakarta, Indonesia
It was smooth sailing for both the USA men’s and USA women’s 3x3 teams on the second day of competition at the 2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship in Jakarta, Indonesia. The USA women started preliminary round play with three strong victories and the U.S. men improved to 5-0 after posting a pair of wins.
The USA women opened Friday’s competition with a 21-2 pasting of Guam (0-3), then ran over Puerto Rico (0-3) 21-2 and fought off China (1-2) 19-16 to finish the day tied with Lithuania for top position in the preliminary round Group B standings with a 3-0 record.
After finishing Thursday’s day one of preliminary play with a 3-0 mark, the USA Men’s 3x3 U18 National Team was even more impressive Friday, swamping Czech Republic (3-2) 21-3, then closing out the day with a 22-1 thumping of Guatemala (0-3).
The U.S. women’s squad consists of University of California commit Gabby Green (St. Mary’s College H.S./Oakland, Calif.), Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.), Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.) and University of Notre Dame commit Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas).
The 2013 USA U18 3x3 team is comprised of Cliff Alexander (Curie H.S./Chicago, Ill.), University of Tennessee commit Larry Austin, Jr. (Lanphier H.S./Springfield, Ill.), University of Colorado commit Dominique Collier (Denver East H.S./Denver, Colo.) and Cleveland State University signee DeMonte Flannigan (Villa Angela-St. Joseph H.S./Cleveland, Ohio).
The first two games for the women were not suspenseful as the Americans quickly took control and cruised on to lopsided victories. The game against China offered the USA women a test. Thanks to China’s hitting four shots from beyond the arc, it was a tight game to the end. Tied 15 all, Ogunbowale took over. With 32.2 seconds left in the game she drove to the hoop, scored, was fouled, and after making her free throw, the U.S. had pushed ahead 17-15. China scored to cut the gap to 17-16, but on the following possession the 5’9” Ogunbowale posted up her defender and scored to up the advantage to 18-16. Ogunbowale made a steal on China’s next possession, and sealed the game when she quickly found Turner inside for a basket to put the game away 19-16.
“In the first two games we blew them out, we knew China was going to be physical but I don’t think we knew they would play that good and I don’t think we knew they were going to shoot that well either,” said Ogunbowale.
“My defender was my height but she was way weaker than me and all she did was try and hold me down low so it was either a foul or I made the shot. So I just took advantage of that just because she wasn’t as strong as me and it was pretty easy to post her up.”
The USA women conclude preliminary round play Saturday, facing 3-0 Lithuania (6:20 am EDT) and 2-1 Spain (8:40 a.m. EDT). The top four finishing teams from each preliminary round group advance to Saturday’s knock out round of 16 (game times are 10:10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. EDT). Winners advance to the quarterfinals round on Sunday (5 a.m. EDT), semifinals action is Sunday (6:00 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. EDT) and the gold medal game is Sunday at 10:00 a.m. EDT.
“We have to keep our spacing and move around more, they’re (Lithuania and Spain) probably going to be like China or better so we need to execute early on in the game and not let it get tied and just go hard the whole game,” said Ogunbowale about keys for the U.S. in Saturday’s games.
“It’s been really fun. It’s way different than (playing) five-on-five, but I like it more. It’s fast, people have to hold you honestly, they can’t help on anybody otherwise you’re going to have an open look, so it’s fun.”
With its two one-sided wins Friday, the closest an opponent has come to the USA men is 12 points.
“Today was pretty good, said the 6’9” Alexander. “We just came out ready to play hard and got the wins, which are the most important thing.”
Alexander is enjoying the new FIBA 3x3 rule that awards two points for a dunk, the same amount as is awarded for a make from behind the arc. “Yeah, I’m enjoying that. Me and DeMonte (Flannigan), every chance we get, we’re dunking the ball.”
Standing 5-0 after the first two days, despite having two preliminary round games remaining, the U.S. men are already assured of advancing to the knock out round of 16. The U.S. concludes its preliminary round play facing Taiwan (1-4) in a game scheduled for 5:20 a.m. EDT, and then finishes preliminary play off against 4-1 Philippines. The Philippines lone loss came to China when all four of its players fouled out, leaving the Philippines unable to complete the game and therefore they were tagged with a 20-0 loss.
“The Philippines team is really good, we haven’t really seen the other team play, but the Philippines are really good, they have a nice point guard,” said Alexander.
The USA men are the only nation in the 32-team championship to have scored 21 or more points in all five of its games. Averaging a tournament best 21.2 points a game over the first five contests, the U.S. has limited its five opponents to just 5.8 points game.
“It’s a lot faster and there’s a 12 second shot clock,” said Alexander when asked about playing 3x3 as compared to playing the traditional five-on-five. “I enjoy playing it a lot. I played back home with some of my friends at the park, but it’s nothing like this.”
The top four finishing teams from each of the four men's preliminary round groups advance to the Final 16 round that is being contested on Saturday. Final 16 round winners advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday, and semifinals and finals are being conducted on Sunday as well.
The third annual FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship (billed as the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship in its inaugural year) features 24 women’s teams and 32 men’s teams from around the world. A gold medal isn’t the only thing on the line as the top three finishing men’s and women’s teams will also qualify their countries for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.
Athletes must be 18-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1995) in order to compete. In addition to the men’s and women’s tournament, included in the 3x3 U18 World Championship program for the weekend will be skills contests and a mixed-team tournament with two males and two females competing on one team for their country.