A summer of huge success for young USA players continued as the U18s won gold at the FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Valdivia, Chile. In the final game, the USA overcame North American rival Canada 99-84 in a cruising win that claimed the title.
The dominance of the USA in this tournament is storied. The country has claimed eight of the ten editions of the FIBA Americas U18 and has now won the last four consecutive tournaments stretching back to 2010.
It is also the second straight year that the USA has overcome Canada. However, this term the players from the Great White North restored some pride after a 113-79 humiliation last time out. This season the USA was always in control, but Canada managed to stay more or less in touch and not get completely overwhelmed.
The first half was actually close and an excellent display of consistent scoring from both teams. The USA hit 24 points in the first quarter, but Canada kept pace with 23 points to make it a one point game. The defending champs stayed in good form through the bucket and hit another 24 points in the second quarter. The Canadians could not match it, managing 21 points instead. Through the long break the USA had opened a 48-44 advantage.
Canada stayed solid in offence, but solid was not enough as the USA went up another gear. The champs nailed 27 points in the third act and extended its lead to a commanding 75-63 through three quarters. In the closing frame the USA got business done and saw off an admittedly valiant Canadian effort.
Markell Fultz led the win with 23 points, while Paul Washington added 19 points. Mitchell Porter managed 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 44 assists, followed by Hamidou Dialla with 14 points.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker grabbed a game high 25 points for the losing effort, while Abu Kigab took the games only double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.