A historic run to the FIBA Americas U18 Championship game ended in disappointment as Canada Junior Men’s National Team settled for a silver medal in the wake of a 113-79 loss to Team USA. The tournament’s top-scorers, Dillon Brooks and Montaque Gill-Caesar met expectations by filling the basket, scoring 27 and 22 points, respectively. Captain Chris Egi added to the high-scoring duo with a big night of his own, totalling an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Canada started slow off the tip-off, allowing their rivals from the United States to build an early 18-6 lead. Rather than lose hope, Canada fought back to finish the first quarter on a 9-3 run, then threatened to take the lead early in the second quarter.
The moment was not lost on Team Canada – no matter the result, this game would represent the highest finish ever by a Canadian team in this tournament. The excitement was palatable on the floor as Canada sought to dethrone an American opponent that had defeated teams to the tune of 98, 54, 54 and 34 points leading up to the final game.
At times, the excitement may have manifested itself adversely with head coach Roy Rana’s young squad; while combining to score 67 of their team’s points, the trio of Brooks, Gill-Caesar and Egi also combined for 19 turnovers. The frequent turnovers derailed the second-quarter comeback attempt, allowing Team USA to score 30 points off of the miscues.
To their credit, Team USA provided a balanced attack on offence, with five players finishing in double-digit figures and eight players scoring eight or more points. The Americans were led by a 20-point, ten-rebound night by Justice Winslow.
Team Canada will now look ahead to the FIBA U19 World Championships in 2015.