The biennial FIBA Americas U16 Mens Basketball Championship took place last week in Formosa, Argentina. A total of eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean are invited to the event, and the top four teams that prove themselves throughout five games qualify for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Championships.
Team Canada was represented by head coach Craig Beaucamp and a roster of the best twelve U16 men in the country, who will all continue to play at higher levels as they get older.
The Canadians started the tournament strong, sweeping their opponents 4-0 before falling 60-111 to the Americans on Saturday, June 17th.
This was USA’s fifth consecutive U16 Mens FIBA Championship, proving their dominance on the worldwide stage.
With their first game on Wednesday, June 14th against host Argentina, the Canadians demonstrated their ability to start a game strong and control the momentum and lead. Shooting guard Cashius McNielly (Scarborough, ON) made noise with 22 points in his teams 75-61 win over Argentina. McNielly would prove himself as a force to be reckoned with on the court, averaging 14.4 points in 21.8 minutes over all 5 games.
Guard Shemar Rathan-Mayes (Toronto, ON) had a game high of 21 points on Thursday, June 15th during his team’s 79-71 victory over Paraguay. After Canada outscored Paraguay by 14 in the first half, they were able to maintain their lead throughout the remainder of the game.
The following day Canada embarrassed Venezuela 80-43, displaying a great team effort while every player wearing red and white got on the scoreboard. The Canadians never looked back after taking a 22 point lead at the half while out-rebounding the Venezuelans 48-33.
The semi-final was where Team Canada proved they were a top team in this tournament, surpassing Team Puerto Rico 81-66. Although the game started off closer than their fist three, McNeilly lead the way scoring 23 points and adding two dimes, helping his team pull away and take the win.
During the finals against Team U.S.A, Team Canada demonstrated their mastery of starting off games the right way by taking a 6-3 lead. However the only time the Canadians would find themselves with an edge over their rivals was the first three minutes of the game. The Americans retaliated by going on an 11-0 run and the Canadians found themselves trailing 10-26 in the final moments of the first quarter.
Guard Lila Sakota (Etobicoke, ON) scored a team-high 17 points in the 60-111 loss to Team U.S.A.
Team Canada returns home with a silver medal and their ticket stamped to the 2018 FIBA U17 World Championships where they will look to get redemption and come back stronger.