Congratulations from BallinEurope go out today to that other national team who won a world championship yesterday, namely Team USA at the first-ever FIBA U17 World Championship.
The Americans were once again a scoring machine against Poland in the championship game, simply mercilessly outgunning their opponents in the 111-80 win. Every player on the USA roster scored and the team’s big three again put up double figures: James McAdoo, tournament MVP Bradley Beal and Michael Gilchrist combined for nearly half the team’s points, scoring 55 altogether on 21-of-33 shooting from the trio.
Beal and McAdoo were named to the all-tournament team along with Team Poland’s 1-2 punch of Przemyslaw Marcin Karnowski and Matuesz Ponitka. Joining them was Kevin Pangos, whose Team Canada took out Lithuania in the third-place game.
Official FIBA writeups follow.
(FIBA) – The United States of America are the first ever winner of the FIBA U17 World Championship. In an entertaining gold medal game the squad of coach Don Showalter emerged as deserving winners. The final score of 111-80 meant nothing less than an eighth victory in in as many games. Runners-up Poland came into this matchup unbeaten thus far, but once more delivered great heart and sportsmanship for 40 minutes.
Poland’s Piotr Niedzwiedzki was first to score a basket in this gold medal game at the inaugural U17 World Championship. It took the USA about two minutes to get rolling – or, at least tournament MVP Bradley Beal. The shooting guard did exactly that, he shot. Two Bradley-triples later, the North Americans were in full control – at least so it seemed (10-7, 5min). Tony Wroten dashed along the baseline and elevated for one fine alley-oop that got the crowd involved (29-21). But it would not be the ultimate highlight, as Daniel Szymiewicz connected on a halfcourt heave to get the momentum back on Poland’s side (29-24).
Beal and Wroten rattled in two consecutive treys to get back on track (40-28, 13min), but Poland relied on its strong defense to close the gap. Sporting a zone defense Poland took much time off the 24 second clock and forced the USA to take heavily contested shots. A two-handed jam from Przemyslaw Karnowski was enough for Showalter, who took a quick timeout in order to rearrange his troops (42-36, 15min).
It would not help, as Mateusz Ponitka – after three consecutive missed long bombs – changed gears and suddenly attacked the rim. Five points from the savvy guard in the books Poland still had their hands on their opponents (46-41, 18min). Off several unforced Polish turnovers, Team USA put the pedal to the metal, shifted into higher gears and got numerous easy layups – or created mismatches in transition.
After Karnowski collected his second and third personal fouls within seconds he was benched – the initial sign for Beal and company to penetrate the paint on every subsequent possession (58-41, 20min).
It took Poland exactly two minutes to score its first bucket, a three pointer from Michal Michalak (62-46, 2min). With Grzegorz Grochowski following his example knocking down a trey of his own, hope arose on Poland’s minds.
Spirits fell when Karnowski gathered his fourth personal on an offensive foul (67-51, 25min). Outrebounding their opponents in the next few minutes, the USA reinstalled their high-tempo style of play (78-62, 30min).
Poland was not able to launch another comeback. As time expired, the over-athletic USA players took advantage of their deep bench. Both teams showed a couple of nice dunks to put the icing on the cake.
The crowd applauded the USA as well as Poland for what seemed like an eternity before celebrations and the ensuing medal and closing ceremonies.
(FIBA) – The All-Tournament Five for the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship includes two gold medalist, two silver medalists and one bronze medalist.
Kevin Pangos of Canada, who was instrumental in his team’s impressive third-place finish, of Canada was named best point guard of the Championship. Beautifully controlling the game’s pace and finding open spaces with ease, Pangos also finished as his team’s highest scorer.
Mateusz Ponitka of Poland, whose shooting was exceptional for much of the tournament ¬– though he will have been disappointed to have had one of his poorest games in the final – was at times breathtaking from the arc, while his drives into the paint also got many off their seats.
James McAdoo collects the title of best power forward. His speed in the paint and his outstanding acrobatic abilities entertained the crowd as much as they contributed to his team’s success.
Bradley Beal of the USA – also named tournament MVP – joins the team as best small forward. Beal, who was helped by some awesome team play, did very little wrong throughout the USA’s eight victories, his almost 50% three-point shooting average and blend of hard work and talent were key factors in him being named tournament MVP.
Przemyslav Karnowski of Poland, who was majestic throughout the championship, whose power under the rim was too much for every opponent he came up against and who totaled 88 rebounds, was named as the competition’s best centre.
The players were handed over their trophies during the closing ceremony and were given a standing ovation.