Canada’s U19 National team has reached it’s first-ever semi-finals by defeating France 73-67 at 2017 FIBA World Cup Championship in Cairo Egypt.
17-year old Rowan Barrett Jr., the number one ranked player in the class of 2019 kicked off the much anticipated quarter-finals against the European Champs with a two-hand dunk, setting the tone for the Canadians and quick 7-0 start. Barrett Jr. finished with a game-high 27 points, five rebounds and four assists while Abu Kigab racked-up his second-straight double-double 17 points and 15 rebounds and six assists.
6’11” Canadian forward Grant Shephard (Kelowna, BC) rounded out Canada’s double-digits scores with 12 points and five rebounds on 4-of-5 shooting.
Canada played without the services of starting point guard Lindell Wigginton who was out due to a concern of concussion symptoms. Point-guard duties were shared by 5’9″ point guard Jordan Henry (Toronto, ON/Ryerson Rams/Usports) who started in his place, finishing with four points and five assists in 29 minutes while Noah Kirkwood (Ottawa, ON) contributed four points, three assists and two steals.
“What an incredibly proud moment for this group and this team,” head coach Roy Rana said. “To make history at the U19 level is sweet for us but we’re not going to settle. We’re focused on getting ready for the next challenge.”
Canada 24/55 (43.6%) from the field but continued to struggle from beyond the arc, connecting on only 5-of-15 (33%) attempts and a mild 20/32 from the charity stripe.
The European champs got strong performance from 6’10” Killian Tillie (Gonzaga Bulldogs) with monster a double-double of 22 points and 16 rebounds on 10/16 shooting. Unfortunately France shot a miserable 9-of-22 (40.9%) from the foul-line and 26/71 from the field.
Canada 4-1 will take on rivals United States of America (5-0) in the first semi-final while Italy and Spain will battle it out in the other for the rights to advance to the Gold Medal game.
Canada knocks off Sweden qualifies for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Canada’s women’s national basketball team is headed for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.
Team Canada picked-up it’s second victory of the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, defeating Team Sweden 80-50 to earn their third straight trip to the summer games.
Natalie Achonwa nearly perfect 16 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists performance anchored a dominate Canadian offensive attack that featured four players in double-figures. The Indiana Fever power forward knocked-down 8-of-9 field goals in just 17 minutes.
Shaina Pellington was outstanding with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists. Kia Nurse, Canada’s other WNBA player finished with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals and Miranda Ayim added with 10 points and 3 rebounds.
All players contributed to win — logging at least five minutes and recording a stat on the scoresheet. 18 year old Laeticia Amihere made her official senior team debut — scoring 8 quick points in games’ final 8 minutes.
The victory will send Canada to their six (7) Olympic games. Team Canada also qualified in 1976, 1984 1996, 2000, 2012, 2016 — earning a country best fourth-place finish at the 1984 Olympiad in Los Angeles, California.
Canada becomes the sixth (6) team to qualify for the games — eight (8) gold medalist, United States, China, France, Nigeria and tournament hosts Japan have also earned there spot. Six more teams will make-up the 12-team showcase. The 2020 games will run from July 24 – August 09.
Canada beats Belgium now one win away from Tokyo 2020
Canada’s senior women’s national team kicked-off the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifiers with a hard fought 61-56 over tournament hosts Belgium.
Needing only two victories to earn a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games — the Canadians came out swinging against 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meeseeman
Canada, ranked no. 4 in the latest FIBA World rankings trailed for less then two (2) minutes before taking control of game mid-away through the second-quarter — pulling ahead for game-high 16-point lead at 30-14 in the late stages of the first-half. Behind a terrific and supportive home crowd, combined with sloppy last 1:48 minute by Canada allowed the Belgium team to close the half on 9-0 run — trimming the Canadian lead to 30-23 at half-time.
Kia Nurse scored a game-high 19 points, dished out 3 assists and captured 3 steals. Kayla Alexander had an outstanding game, banging inside for 12 points and 3 rebounds. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe also contributed with 7 points, 6 rebounds and Shaina Pellinton came-off the bench — adding 7 points and 4 rebounds. Natalie Achonwa was effective on both ends of the court providing a spark with 6 points and 3 rebounds.
Canada outscored Belgium 26-8 in the paint and showcased it’s depth, scoring 24 points off the bench.
Belgium was paced by Emma Meeseeman’s team-high 14 points, 6 rebounds. Kim Mestdagh put in an all-around effort with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
Canada (1-0) will take on a Sweden (0-1) in their upcoming game for an opportunity to qualify for their third straight Summer Olympic games.