New Zealand’s men and France’s women win 3x3 U18 World Champs

8 Jun 2015

DEBRECEN (2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships) - Just four years after their success at the inaugural FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships, New Zealand's men regained their crown while France's women won for the first time in Debrecen, Hungary on Sunday.

The 2.05m Tai Wynyard was just 13 years old and did not even make his school basketball team when the likes of Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster won the 2011 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships in Rimini, Italy. Just a few years later, those two were already at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and Wynyard, the son of a wood-chopping world champion won MVP honours and led his country to a thrilling win against reigning champions Argentina in the final (20-18).

Wynyard was the top scorer in the title game with 8 points and made his presence known in defense, including an unbelievable block on Martin Ariel Fernandez. The Argentinian star also scored 8 points in the decider, finished the event as top scorer and joined Wynyard on the Team of the Tournament.

The third player to get the accolade was the high-rising Killian Tillie, who led France to the bronze medal, with a little help from partner in crime Bathiste Tchouaffé.

Les Bleus did even better in the women’s tournament, where they upset USA in the final (20-19). Since 2012, the country had won all five 3x3 women’s competitions (U18 and senior). The speedy Lisa Berkani caught fire in the final, scoring 11 points and received the MVP award.

Two-time 3x3 gold-medallist Arike Ogunbowale scored nine points in the final, was named top scorer and a member of the Team of the Tournament.

Hungarian crowd-favourite Nina Aho also found a spot on the list after spearheading her team to bronze.

The individual contests confirmed the French domination in Debrecen as Lisa Berkani won the Skills Contest and Bathiste Tchouaffé the Shoot-Out Contest.

Michael Matuskova collected silver for Czech Republic and Luana Rodefeld (Germany) struck bronze at the Skills Contest.

In the Shoot-Out Contest, Tchouaffé narrowly beat Spanish contestant Lucia Alonso, who had to settle for silver and Giulia Ciavarella (Italy), who won bronze.

Last but not least, Filipino sensation  Kobe Paras kept his Dunk Contest title, which he won  two years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jalek Felton (USA) came just one point short of Paras and won silver. Agustin da Costa put Uruguay on the 3x3 map, collecting a bronze medal.