Champions Crownded At 2017 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournaments
After being crowned as the winning team at the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 U18 National Tournament on April 9 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the players from Bounce Back (7-0) earned the right to represent the United States at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2017 that will be played June 28-July 2 in Chengdu, China. In the men’s U18 division, Hoopla (7-0) secured the championship with a 21-15 victory over Western PA Elite Gold and earned an automatic berth to the 2018 USA Men’s 3x3 U18 National Tournament.
Bounce Back included Janelle Bailey (Providence Day School/Matthews, N.C.), Aquira DeCosta (St. Mary’s H.S./Sacramento, Calif.), Christyn Williams (Central Arkansas Christian School/Little Rock, Ark.) and tournament MVP Destiny Littleton (The Bishop’s School/San Diego, Calif.).
In rolling to its seven wins, only once did Bounce Back not end the game early by scoring 21 points, and in five of those victories the team won by at least 16 points. It advanced to the gold medal game with a 21-15 semifinal win against Metropath (4-2).
“It means a lot to win MVP,” Littleton said. “The semifinals game was a tough one. We stuck together. The main goal coming here was to win a gold medal. We understand the 3x3 U18 World Cup is a great competition, and we’re ready for it.”
Bounce Back had control throughout the women’s championship game, leading 8-0 to start its contest against Denver (5-2). Littleton sealed the win with consecutive 2-pointers.
All four members of Bounce Back have played on USA Basketball five-on-five national teams. DeCosta and Littleton won bronze medals together at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, while Bailey, DeCosta and Williams captured bronze at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
“I’m always so happy to represent the USA and put on USA for my country,” said DeCosta of earning the right to be on the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Team. “It was a very competitive weekend. Everybody wanted to be the champions. It was on us to prove we were the best out on the court, and that’s what we did.”
MVP of the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 U18 National Tournament Zachary Reichle (Wilsonville H.S./Wilsonville, Ore.) helped lead Hoopla to a win in the title game, along with teammates Matthew O’Brien (Clackamas H.S./Portland, Ore.), Jack Roche (Wilsonville H.S./Wilsonville, Ore.) and Zac Woodworth (Wilsonville H.S./West Linn, Ore.).
“I couldn’t have done it without the guys on my team,” Reichle said of being named MVP. “They helped get the ball in my hands, made some plays for me. The ultimate goal was to win the whole thing, so that means a lot more to me.”
Hoopla jumped ahead 5-0 to start the men’s final, however, Western PA Elite Gold (5-1) made it a close contest near the end. Western PA Elite Gold trailed by just three points, 18-15, before Hoopla again pulled away. O’Brien sank two free throws to help his team reach 21 points and end the game.
“This is a great feeling,” O’Brien said. “It’s big for us. Western PA Elite Gold is a great team. They were knocking down some tough shots, but we just got off to a really good start. I think that kind of set the tone for the game.
“You’re out here playing for the championship, so you have to do what you can to win. You just have to play through the contact and battle.”
The 2017 editions was the sixth annual USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament.
In accordance with FIBA 3x3 rules, each game consists of one, 10-minute period. The team leading after completion of regular playing time, or the first team to score 21 points is declared the winner. If the game ends in a tie, the first team to score two points in overtime earns the victory. Shots made outside the arc are awarded two points, shots made inside the arc are awarded one point and each made free throw is worth one point. Additionally, a 12-second shot clock is utilized.
FIBA Women’s 3x3 U18 World Cup
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). FIBA recently changed the name to the 3x3 U18 World Cup.
Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1999).
Twenty men’s and 20 women’s teams are expected to compete in the five-day event. In addition to the men’s and women’s 3x3 tournaments, included in the 2017 3x3 World Cup program will be skills contests, giving athletes chances to win additional medals.
In addition to host China, teams qualified for the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2017 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.
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 3x3 U18 World Championships; silver at the 2015 and 2016 3x3 U18s; and a pair of bronze medals at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and 2011 3x3 U18 Worlds.
Past USA 3x3 U18 players of note include: Napheesa Collier (2014), Kaela Davis (2011, 2012), Diamond DeShields (2012), Arike Ogunbowale (2013, 2014), Katie Lou Samuelson (2013, 2014), Kiah Stokes (2010), Brianna Turner (2012, 2013).