Three Teams Remain Unbeaten Following 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament Preliminary Round
Three teams remain undefeated at the 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament following Saturday’s preliminary round games, held at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Unbeaten teams include the Stars (5-0) from the men’s tournament and Defend (3-0) and Southern Starz (3-0) on the women’s side.
The men’s and women’s tournament champions will earn the right to represent USA Basketball at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship, June 4-7 in Debrecen, Hungary. Athletes from the winning teams will reconvene at the USOTC May 29-June 1 to train prior to representing USA Basketball at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship.
Teams have been seeded based on their preliminary games and the top four in each men’s pool advanced to Sunday’s championship round, while all eight of the women’s teams will play in the women’s championship round on Sunday. The winning quarterfinal men’s and women’s teams will advance to the semifinals for the right to play in their respective championship game.
On the men’s side, quarterfinal match-ups are Titans (4-1) against Ballerz (3-2), Denver Snipers (4-1) take on Hoopla Wildcats (3-2), D-Town Blazers (4-1) go up against MCL (2-3), while Stars will face Tradition (3-2).
The women’s quarterfinal games feature Southern Starz against Winston-Salem Stealers (0-4), Defend against Hard2Guard (0-4), Colorado Elite Blue (2-1) versus Elite Force (1-2) and Next Level (1-2) will play CBC (2-1).
Competing in the men’s consolation bracket for ninth to 12th place are Give n Go (1-4) versus Aztecs (0-5) and Arch Ryvals (1-4) versus Dallas (0-5).
Stars rolled to a 5-0 record in the men’s Group B after opening with a 21-6 win over Dallas, then defeated Give n Go 21-1, MCL 20-11 and the Titans 21-8, before closing play with a 21-12 victory over Hoopla Wildcats.
“I felt like we played great, we played better as a team each game,” said P.J. Washington (Findlay College Prep/Frisco, Texas) of the Stars. “I feel like we can win this tournament and then go overseas and actually win (the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship) for the first time.
“I like 3x3 because you can take your man one-on-one and there’s no help side,” added Washington. “So, it’s different from five-on-five.”
Washington’s Stars teammates include Zach Collins (Bishop Gorman H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.), Jalek Felton (Mullins H.S./Mullins, S.C.) and Payton Pritchard (West Linn H.S./West Linn, Ore.).
Defend, which won the women’s Group B with a 3-0 record, opened the day with a 16-14 victory over CBC, downed Elite Force 21-8 and capped group play with a 21-10 victory over Winston-Salem Stealers. Defend’s final game, a 21-12 defeat of Colorado Elite Blue, did not count towards preliminary group standings as the Colorado squad was in Group A.
“This is my first time playing the 3x3 format and I think it’s so much fun to play against so many girls from across this country,” said Defend’s Asia Durr (St. Pius X Catholic H.S./Douglasville, Ga.). “We’re trying to go out there and win each game. The first game we started out slow, but we came out rocking in our other games. We really want to go to Hungary. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.
“The Southern Starz is a great, talented team. They have shooters, they have drivers. They have it all. If we played them tomorrow, it would be a good game.”
Defend also features Kristine Anigwe (Desert Vista H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.), Natalie Chou (Plano West H.S./Plano, Texas) and Arike Ogunbowale (Divine Savior Holy Angels H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.).
Southern Starz finished first in the women’s Group A by opening with a 15-10 win over Next Level, then took down Hard2Guard 21-1 and closed the first round with a 21-12 victory over Colorado Elite Blue. Its final game of the night, a 21-7 win over Group B’s Winston-Salem Stealers, did not count toward preliminary round standings.
“We had some really good competition out here today,” said Nia Hollie (Hopkins H.S./Brooklyn Park, Minn.) from Southern Starz. “We had to come out here and work really hard. The air is different, we’re at a high altitude (6,200’), but the first round was a really great experience. I think the competition we had the first round was really good.
“We got a lot better through the day. I think we need to take it a little bit slower, calm down a little bit, but overall I think we’ll be ready for the championship round tomorrow.”
In addition to Hollie, the Southern Starz includes Erin Boley (Elizabethtown H.S./Hodgenville, Ky.), Kennedy Gavin (Petal H.S./Petal, Miss.) and Shaquera Wade (Huntsville H.S./Huntsville, Ala.).
In addition to the tournament, the 3x3 U18 weekend included a skills challenge, 3-point shooting competition and a partner hot-shot competition, all of which were contested on May 1 and the winners will be announced on May 3.
FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship
The FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship has been held on an annual basis since 2011, except in the years of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (2010, 2014). Twenty-four men’s and 24 women’s teams are expected to compete in the four-day event.
In order to be eligible, athletes must participate in at least one FIBA-sanctioned 3x3 tournament in 2015 prior to participating in the 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament that is scheduled to be held May 1-3 at the USOTC. To receive an invitation to participate in the 2015 USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament, teams must be selected through a qualifying 3x3 tournament and approved by USA Basketball. Athletes eligible for this team must be 18-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997) and U.S. citizens.
In addition to host Hungary, teams qualified for the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship for Men include: Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Guatemala, Hungary, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, USA and Vietnam.
In addition to host Hungary, teams qualified for the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship for Women include: Andorra, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, France, Germany, Guam, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, USA and Venezuela.
Including results from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which was a 3x3 U18 competition, and results from the 2011-2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships, the USA men are 27-10 all-time and earned the silver medal in 2012 and placed 4th in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games. The USA women’s 3x3 U18 teams have compiled a 41-5 overall record and captured gold at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and the 2012 and 2013 FIBA U18 World Championships, while winning a pair of bronze medals at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and 2011 FIBA U18 World Championship.
Some of the athletes who have competed on USA 3x3 U18 World Championship Teams include: Cliff Alexander (2013), Larry Austin (2012, 2013), Napheesa Collier (2014), Kaela Davis (2011, 2012), Diamond DeShields (2012), Sterling Gibbs (2010), Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson (2011), Arike Ogunbowale (2013, 2014), Katie Lou Samuelson (2013, 2014), Kiah Stokes (2010) and Brianna Turner (2012, 2013).