2012 USA Basketball Women’s And Men’s 3x3 U18 World Championship Teams Claim Gold, Silver MedalsOctober 1, 2012
The 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship concluded Sunday evening as the USA 3x3 U18 women (7-1) collected the gold medal with a 21-13 victory over host Spain (7-1), and the USA 3x3 men (8-2) were edged by Serbia (10-0), 21-20, in overtime of the gold medal game and earned the silver medal outside of the José Caballero Sports Centre in Alcobendas, Spain.
France’s (9-2) men took bronze with a 19-11 victory over Canada (8-2), while Australia’s (7-1) women defeated Italy (6-2) 16-14 for the bronze.
In the women’s gold medal game, Spain struck first, but the U.S. went up 4-3 early and never again trailed. The USA women pulled away 10-5 before going up 14-8 and cruising through to the eventual victory.
“It feels great,” said Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.), who now has FIBA U17, 3x3 U18 and U19 World Championship gold medals. “The feeling never gets old. You’re a world champion of multiple competitions. It never feels the same. It’s a different feeling because you work differently in each tournament, so I’m just really excited. I’m so happy that we got another gold medal.”
The men’s game was a much closer affair that see-sawed for the first half of the contest. With the U.S. up 11-10, however, Serbia strung together five unanswered points to take a 15-11 lead. The American men fought back and took a 17-16 lead late in the game. From there the score was knotted three times, including a Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.) buzzer-beating bucket that sent the game into overtime with score tied 19-all.
“It just came down to toughness,” said Hollis-Jefferson following the gold medal game. “They were a good team, but it just seemed like we didn’t fight until we were down. Being down one with like two seconds left, I just had one mindset. I had to get the basket.”
Hollis-Jefferson threw down a dunk to put the U.S. on top 20-19 and in need of one more point to clinch the gold medal as the first team to score two points in overtime earns the victory. However, Serbia heaved up a shot from beyond the arc that banked in, giving the Serbs the 21-20 win and gold medal.
“The women came out strong today and ran through all their competition,” said Travis Johnson, USA Basketball 3x3 Programs Director. “It was obviously tougher competition today than yesterday, but they didn’t get back. They came out and fought all the way through to the end. They went ahead against Spain and didn’t look back and came away with the gold.
“Serbia is a big, big team and they had two inches over all of our guys,” said Johnson regarding the men’s gold medal opponents. “They’re very versatile and can shoot as well. They were very strong the whole game, but we were in there scratching and clawing and were in there with them the whole game. When we went into overtime, Rondaé (Hollis-Jefferson) had a massive dunk that looked like it energized the whole team. When they got the ball back, they looked like nothing was going to stop them. The Serbia guy got the ball, stepped behind the line and threw up a prayer that got answered, so we ended up with silver. But going from eighth last year to second place is a six-place jump and it’s good for these guys. To come out of here with a 8-2 record, I told them they shouldn’t hold their heads down whatsoever.”
Earlier in the day, the USA 3x3 U18 women advanced to the final after knocking off Estonia (4-3) 21-10 in the quarterfinals and eventual bronze medalist Australia 21-13 in the semifinals; while the USA 3x3 U18 men defeated Estonia (6-3) 21-18 in the quarters and Canada 17-13 in the semifinals en route to the gold medal game.
In addition to DeShields, the USA 3x3 women’s team includes: Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.), Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.) and Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas).
Completing the men’s team are: Larry Austin (Lanphier H.S./Springfield, Ill.), Brett Brady (Highlands Ranch H.S./Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and DeMonte Flannigan (Villa Angela-St. Joseph H.S. / Richmond Heights, Ohio).
The 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship for Men featured 32 teams divided into four groups of eight, while the women’s tournament featured 24 teams divided into four groups of six. Following round-robin preliminary play The top team from each group earned a berth into the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 finishing teams will played one game to advance four teams to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament continued in a standard knockout format.
The 3x3 U18 World Championship events also included individual skills challenges and a mixed tournament. The skills competitions included a 3-point shootout, dunk contest and a “2 Ball” contest in which each person from a team of two athletes must shoot from five different positions on the court in a 60-second span.
Hollis-Jefferson earned the bronze in the dunk contest, which was won by Germany’s Terry Thomas, while Martin Jurtom of Estonia took the silver and Cyril Baechler (Switzerland) came in fourth and was also awarded a bronze medal. France defeated Switzerland 21-12 for the mixed gold medal, while Lithuania and Spain were awarded bronze medals. In the “2 Ball” contest, Germany’s team of Johannes Joos and Robert Zinn took gold; Spain’s Borja Mendia and Ariadna Pujol earned the silver; while bronze medals were won by Aleks Correia Semedo and Gillian Boldewyn of the Netherlands, and Romania’s Vlad Stoicoviciu and Andrei Damian.The 3-point shootout gold medal was won by Treevanne Moses of Belize, followed by Polan’ds Monika Naczk with the silver, and the bronze medals went Justinas Gecas of Lithuania and Elisa Penna of Italy.
This marks the second annual FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship. In the inaugural event, dubbed the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship, the USA women finished with a 7-2 record and earned an honorary bronze medal after having to forfeit the bronze medal game due to injuries. The 2011 USA 3x3 U18 men went 7-5 and finished in eighth place. Spain’s women and New Zealand’s men claimed the inaugural gold medals.