For the fifth time in eight FIBA U16 Americas Championships, Canada has swept its preliminary group, defeating Brazil 74-56 inside the Poliforum Zamna arena in Yucatán, Mexico to improve to 3-0 at the 2023 U16 Americas Championships.
Right from the start, Canada asserted their dominance and never relinquished their lead. Through a combination of strong individual efforts and cohesive team play, they sealed the victory with a decisive 21-5 run in the final minutes.
Brazil showcased their resilience in the fourth quarter, mounting an 11-2 run to trim the once 16-point deficit to a mere four points at 53-49 with six minutes remaining.
However, Canada’s Elijah Patterson rose to the occasion, scoring nine consecutive points to reestablish their double-digit lead and secure an impressive 18-point victory.
Throughout the game, Canada exhibited moments of defensive prowess, limiting Brazil to a mere 1-of-11 shooting in the opening five minutes and holding them to a disappointing 3-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Taking control early, Canada established a 14-8 lead through disciplined and controlled play with only two first-half turnovers. Five-foot-ten guard, Jordan Charles, once again provided a crucial spark off the bench, adding four points in the closing moments of the first quarter to extend the lead to 18-12.
Continuing his impact, Charles extended his personal scoring run to seven consecutive points with an in-rhythm three-pointer, giving Canada a 21-15 advantage to begin the second quarter and a 35-26 halftime lead.
During the third quarter, Paul Osaruyi spearheaded Canada’s offensive charge, scoring the team’s first eleven points and playing a crucial role in establishing a commanding 16-point double-digit lead. Brazil swiftly responded with eight unanswered points, putting pressure on Canada.
However, the momentum shifted back in Canada’s favour when forward Patrick Anamali delivered consecutive dunks, restoring order and allowing Canada to finish the third-quarter with a 51-38 advantage.
Osaruyi finished with his second double of the tournament with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The fifteen-year-old forward also contributed with a team-high eleven rebounds.
Standing at six-foot-five, Anamali had his best game of the tournament with 15 points and five rebounds. Held scoreless for the first two games, Patterson contributed 15 points and five rebounds on an impressive shooting night (5-of-6 overall, 3-of-4 from three-point range).
Kamai Samuels, starting at point guard, played a vital role in Canada’s success, recording five early points and delivering a well-rounded performance with nine rebounds, ten assists, and three steals.
Charles made valuable contributions off the bench, amassing seven points and four steals in just 10 minutes of play. Quinten Ethier continued to showcase his three-pointer ability with seven points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Brazil’s Patrick Perna emerged as their leading scorer, contributing 18 points, nine rebounds, and three steals. Pedro Fernandes also impressed with 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
The victory over Brazil marks the third consecutive win for Canada against their South American counterparts in the FIBA U16 Americas Championships, having previously defeated them 92-53 in 2021 and 90-67 in 2019.
Since the tournament’s inception in 2009, Canada has lost only three preliminary group games at the FIBA U16 Americas championships, twice to Argentina in 2009 and 2021, and once to Puerto Rico in the second game of the 2011 edition.
Canada gets a day-off, before returning to action in the quarter-finals against Mexico, the fourth place team in Group A. A victory in the knock-out stage will assure Canada a top four spot and will automatically qualify the Canadians for the 2024 FIBA U17 World championships in Turkey.