Teams Begin to Separate Themselves in Competitive First Day at USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championships
After Day 1 of competition in the 2019 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championships, two men’s teams remain undefeated while the women’s tournament heated up with four teams tied with a 4-1 record. The USA 3x3 U18 Nationals are serving as trials for the men’s and women’s 2019 USA Basketball’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Teams, and competition has been fierce.
In the men’s tournament, Attack (5-0) and Pursuit (5-0) both ended the day unbeaten, while leading the women’s tournament with a bye to the quarterfinals are Team Denver (4-1) and TGB (4-1).
Team Attack and Team Pursuit, each made up of some of the nation’s best men’s prospects, finished Day 1 a perfect 5-0.
Dawson Garcia, a 6-foot-11 guard from Prior Lake, Minnesota, said it took some adjusting to get used to playing 3x3 with Attack, admitting that at first the game was a little challenging, but he said his team is playing more comfortable now.
“It’s been a great experience so far,” Garcia said. “We all came in not really knowing each other and not really knowing the rules either, but as we got playing with each other more and more and we’re feeling more comfortable as a group, and it’s just been one of the best experiences ever.”
Pursuit, however, had a scare in its first game of the day in a 21-20 win over PLUTO, a team composed of local talent from the Colorado Springs area. The loss proved to be the only defeat of the day for PLUTO, which is ranked second in Pool B. H20 is ranked behind Attack in Pool A at 4-1.
“We talked last night that we just need to play together,” said Pursuit’s Henry Coleman III. “When we do that we can easily win on the offensive side and the defensive end, and it really showed today. We all know we are top players and when you’re a top player we all have the same goals so we were able to relate to each other and be able to feed off each other, so it’s been a really humbling experience.”
Four teams in the women’s tournament finished the day 4-1. Based on FIBA’s 3x3 tiebreaking formula, Team Denver leads Pool C, followed by Blue Star 30 Stars, while TGB leads Pool D followed by Quest.
Team Denver started the day with a loss to It’sJustWork, which finished ranked third in Pool C, 21-14, but stormed back to defeat its next four opponents, not allowing a team to score more than nine points.
Jana Van Gytenbeek, a Stanford University commit from Colorado, said Team Denver needed a game to get acclimated to the rules and the pace of the live game, but felt confident moving forward.
Three of the four players on Team Denver are from Colorado, which Van Gytenbeek also attributed to some of their success, as they did not have to acclimate to the altitude.
“We just need to bring the effort,” Van Gytenbeek said. “Living at altitude means that we should be in better shape and shouldn’t have a problem going hard as we can and out working some of these teams.”
Just one women’s team remained undefeated midway through Day 1 as The Future, comprised of three players from Texas, and a local Colorado athlete, started the tournament 3-0, but quickly ran into Quest, a team boasting three Division I signees.
Quest defeated The Future handily 21-10 as University of Notre Dame commit Samantha Brunelle dominated on virtually every area of the court. The Future lost its last two games of the day and is ranked fourth in Pool D and will battle in a play-in game Sunday morning.
Quest’s only loss of the day was a 21-19 defeat by TGB, which was beaten by The Future 20-18.
“This year compared to last year is a lot more competitive,” Brunelle said. “There’s a lot more talent spread around to almost every team which means you’re not ever going to really have an easy game, and that makes it more fun.”
Play-in games begin at 9 a.m. (all times listed are local, MDT) Sunday with the title games scheduled for 1 and 1:20 p.m. for men and women, respectively. The championship games will be streamed live online at usab.com