Canada earns silver at men's u18 basketball worlds
Canada loses to U.S. but earns best ever showing at tourney
Canada earned silver at the FIBA Americas under-18 championships after falling to the United States 113-79 on Tuesday.
Despite the loss, second place is Canada's best showing at the tournament after earning bronze the previous three championships and they have earned the right to play at next summer's U-19 world championships.
"I think each and every one of our kids understand how much they need to improve in the next 12 months to have a shot at the world championships, and as a staff we have to get better as well," said head coach Roy Rana. "We are very proud of our accomplishments, but we have a lot of work to do to close the gap."
The Americans had a well-rounded offence that included five players scoring in double digits — led by Justice Jon Winslow with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Canada struggled with controlling the play at times resulting in 25 turnovers. The U.S. also made Canada pay on the glass, out-rebounding them on the offensive side 25-15.
The Canadians trailed by 14 at halftime and a 36-18 run in the third quarter by the Americans blew the game open for good.
'A bit sloppy'
"I think there was a general trend with us being a little bit sloppy with the ball, unforced turnovers, they really hurt us on the offensive glass," said Rana. "We had 11 first-time national team players, not a lot of experience on this team. We have one player who has played internationally before.
"I think that showed a little bit tonight, we were a little bit tight, little bit nervous and the U.S., at home, is a little bit tough."
Dillon Brooks led Canada with a game-high 27 points while Montaque Gill-Caesar of Vaughn, Ont., added 22. Team captain Christopher Ebunede Egi of Markham, Ont., contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Brooks, from Mississauga, Ont., was the tournament's top scorer with 25.2 points-per game.
"I think (Dillon), Chris Egi and Montaque were our three best (players)," said Rana. "Dillon was obviously our engine, scored at will and just played so tough, did a lot of different things...Dillon had an incredible tournament."
The Dominican Republic claimed the bronze medal with a 64-53 win over Argentina.
The U-19 world championships will be in Greece next summer. The best Canada has ever finished is sixth place, which they have done twice — in 1987 and 2013.