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Kel'el Ware blocks a shot

USA beats Dominican Republic in FIBA U18 Americas Championship opener

  • Date:
    Jun 6, 2022

2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship | June 6-12 | Tijuana, Mexico

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Led by Kel’el Ware, the 2022 USA Basketball Men’s U18 team secured a 116-48 victory over the Dominican Republic Monday at Auditorio Zonkeys in Tijuana, Mexico.


Ware scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked two shots, as he provided a stabilizing force in the paint throughout the game. Aiding Ware was Brandon Garrison, who scored 15 points, Kanaan Carlyle, who contributed with 14 points, Seth Trimble and Mark Armstrong, who both scored 11 points, and Cam Whitmore, who added 10.  


“This was a good start,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “We shared the ball extremely well and played with good energy.”


It was a team affair for the USA, totaling 25 assists on 45 made field goals. Trimble led the way with a game-high five assists. However, where the USA was able to separate itself was on the defensive end. The USA collected 19 steals and forced 28 turnovers while limiting the Dominican Republic to 26% shooting from the field and 14% from 3-point range.


“We played with good energy on defense, which created easy baskets in transition,” Boyle said. “Overall, I was pleased.”


In the first quarter of action, Ware who scored the first basket. With 9:32 left to go in the first quarter, Jared McCain threw a lob to Ware, who dunked the ball to open scoring.


The play set the tone for the USA and sparked a quick 7-0 run that saw both McCain and Ty Rodgers get involved in the offensive action.


Midway through the first quarter, Whitmore was subbed in the game, and in five minutes, he scored eight points, pushing the USA's advantage to 30-12.


“Cam is a really aggressive, thirsty, scorer,” Boyle said. “He’s so physically strong that when he gets an opening, he can score. He’s a beast.”


In the second half, it was Ware, who scored nine, and Garrison, who finished the game shooting 7-for-7, who propelled the USA to victory.


“Kel’el was really efficient. He ran the floor well, and our guys kicked it to him,” Boyle said. “We talked about it at halftime, how we wanted to get our bigs touches, and they did a good job of that in the second half, especially with Kel’el and Brandon.”


Following Monday’s victory, the USA has a matchup with Ecuador on Tuesday, June 7. The two teams have only met once before in 2018 and, in that quarterfinal matchup, the USA won 132-55.


“The biggest thing for this team is to continue to be unselfish and share the ball,” Boyle said. “There are still some things we have to get better at.”


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