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Canada punches ticket to 2025 U19 World Cup with comeback over Brazil

Canada advances to U18 AmeriCup semifinals and secures 2025 FIBA U19 World Cup berth with a win over Brazil.

Tristan beckford hangs on the rim after throwing down a big alley oop dunk against brazil in the quarter finals of the 2024 fiba u18 americup
Six-foot-four, Canadian guard Tristan Beckford (16 points, 10 rebounds) hangs on the rim after throwing down a big alley-oop dunk in the 72-68 quarter-finals win over Brazil at 2024 FIBA U18 AmeriCup. - Photo: FIBA

Canada’s U18 national team booked their ticket to the 2025 FIBA U19 World Cup in dramatic fashion.

In a nail-biting quarter-final matchup at the 2024 FIBA U18 AmeriCup in Buenos Aires, Argentina, they edged out Brazil 72-68. This win propels Canada into the tournament’s semifinals for an impressive ninth consecutive year. It also marks their tenth straight qualification for the U19 World Cup, extending a streak dating back to 2007.

Canada came out firing on all cylinders, showcasing their defensive intensity early. They completely shut down Brazil’s offense for the first six and a half minutes. This dominant start laid the foundation for a 13-0 run and a commanding 15-5 lead after the opening quarter.

However, Brazil refused to go down without a fight. They methodically clawed their way back into the game in the second half. Exploiting Canada’s uncharacteristic 19 turnovers with a stingy 2-3 zone defense, Brazil capitalized on their free throw advantage (20-6) and splashed timely three-pointers. By halftime, they had cut the deficit to 40-33.

The third quarter saw a shift in tempo. Brazil focused on feeding their post players, resulting in early foul trouble for Canada’s starting front court. Despite this, Canada countered with thunderous dunks from rising six-foot-four prospect Tristan Beckford, extending their lead to 53-40 with just over two minutes remaining in the period.

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Unfortunately, uncharacteristic turnovers by Canada allowed Brazil to close the gap to 55-53 entering the final frame.

With momentum shifting and the passionate Argentinian home crowd firmly behind their South American neighbors, Brazil seized the opportunity. They scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter to grab their first lead of the game and stretched to a game-high five points at 60-55.

However, Canada displayed true grit, outscoring Brazil 17-8 down the stretch to secure a dramatic comeback victory.

Jaion pitt attacks the rim against brazil in the quarter finals of the 2024 fiba u18 americup
Canadian forward Jaion Pitt attacks the rim against Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2024 FIBA U18 AmeriCup – Photo: FIBA

Leading the charge for Canada was versatile wing Jaion Pitt (6’6″). He notched a double-double with a game-high 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 assists. Beckford continued his impressive tournament with his second double-double, recording 16 points and 10 boards, while adding some electrifying dunks to the highlight reel.

Canadian Coach Ramon Diaz’s gamble of starting with a more defensive-minded lineup, featuring Marial Akuentok and Jalen Rougier-Roane, paid off handsomely. The duo combined for nine of Canada’s first 13 points, setting the tone for the early defensive dominance.

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Several Canadians had strong contributions beyond the leading scorers. Spencer Ahrens had his best game of the tournament with a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double. Justus Haseley provided a well-rounded performance with 10 points, 8 assists, and 2 steals.

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Rougier-Roane chipped in with 10 points, including two clutch three-pointers, alongside three rebounds. Akuentok finished with four points, four rebounds and a blocked shot in 10 minutes.

Jalen rougier roane attempts a three pointer versus brazil in the quarter finals of the 2024 fiba u18 americup
Jalen Rougier-Roane attempts a three pointer versus Brazil in the quarter-finals of the 2024 FIBA U18 AmeriCup – Photo: FIBA

Canada’s triumph over Brazil is a testament to their resilience and ability to perform under pressure. Now, they set their sights on an even bigger challenge: a semifinal showdown against arch-rivals the United States.

However, history suggests a tough road ahead. Canada has never defeated the U.S. at the U18 AmeriCup, having lost all their seven match-ups dating back to the first meeting in 1998, including three straight gold medal games (113-79 in 2014, 99-84 in 2016, and 113-74 on home soil in St. Catharines, Ontario in 2018).

Canada finished second in group A after posting a 2-1 record. They opened the tournament with a surprising 79-77 loss to the Dominican Republic, but bounced back with dominant victories over Puerto Rico (93-54) and Venezuela (89-53).

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