Israel emerge on top, USA march on on Day 3 of FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2023
1 Sep 2023
DEBRECEN (Hungary) - Israel (Men) finish top in Pool D while USA (Women) steamroll past tough competition on Day 3 of the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2023 on September 1.
Israel (Men) had put themselves in a comfortable position after their first day of Group action, winning comfortably against Kyrgyzstan before grinding out the result against Ukraine. Shachar Doron was the offensive juggernaut for them, leading the side to a perfect first day. However, they were in for a jolt against India the next day. Despite Roe Avneri putting up 10 and Doron adding 6, the side just fell short to India with Lokendra Singh coming in clutch at the end. Israel’s fate in the group would come down to their game against contenders Latvia.
Considered by most to be underdogs heading into the game, it was a chance for the side to make a statement. Roy Avneri started off strong with a two before Maxim Filonenko’s rebounding proved to be key, setting up Doron for an and-one finish. Latvia rallied back, evening things up. The game remained in the balance for the majority of the time. Latvia’s Edvards Egle granted his side the lead before shapshooting Avneri closed it down with a two. Filinenko controlled the paint on both ends while Doron essentially ran the game.
Kuzma Goncharov was key on the offensive side late on, handing his side the one-point advantage at 20-19. It was the shooter who called game at the end, Avneri draining a two to hand his side the 22-19 victory and the top spot in Pool D. They will face Estonia in the Quarter-Finals.
Slovenia (Men) emerged atop the Group of Death after a perfect Day 1 and a victory against Estonia. Enej Gerzel and Filip Razdevsek combined for 13 points. They will face Latvia in the Quarter-Finals.
On the Women’s side, Reigning champs USA keep on rolling. After a perfect Day 1, the side kept the momentum flowing against Hungary as Mikaylah Williams once again started cooking on offense. The side’s flowing offensive through extensive ball movement makes them impossible to figure out, each player having their ability to punish on both ends of the court. The LSU star called game as well, leaving her side in pole position.
Their final Group game was the most-anticipated one. France and USA share history in the competition over the years, both having seen success at the top. It was bound to be a powerful clash, and it delivered. Williams, who had dominated in the paint started off with a shot from beyond the arc. France tried to answer back, early on through Margot Ounounou and Lilou Thevenet, but the well-oiled machine that is the USA adjusted quickly. They used their physical and sheer size advantage, hunting for mismatches. Sarah Strong was a rebounding machine, leading to numerous second-chance points and fouls, putting France in early trouble. Williams went to work as well, getting to the paint and getting her shot. Katie Fisto was setting up the field for her side while also finding her way in for some buckets. The impact of Sahara Williams was immense, hustling on both ends of the game. She got key deflections and steals while also grabbing offensive rebounds and going back up for and-one plays. France just couldn’t keep up before Fiso called game to a 21-12 victory against France for team USA. They will take on Mongolia in the Quarter-Finals.
Poland (Women) had a perfect run as well, going 4-4 with wins against Mongolia and Malaysia on Day 2 of Group action. Natalia Rutkowska was immense on the scoring end for the side. They will face France in the Quarter-Finals.
Israel’s (Men) Shachar Doron and Roe Avneri proved to be the perfect duo. The flashy Doron dazzled while the icy Avneri sent their opposition packing. Both finished Group Play with 26 points each, and when they both get rolling, few can stand in front of that power.
Latvia’s (Men) Janis Censonis was a human flamethrower. He was on fire from deep from the opener, scoring 18 points over two games on Day 1 before repeating the total on Day 2. He scored a whopping 12 two-pointers over the four games. Slovenia will have their work cut out for them if they hope to contain him in the Quarter-Finals.
On the Women’s side, none other than two-time MVP Mikaylah Williams. She went off for 11 points in their game against Hungary before putting up 6 against France. Her ability to get her shot when she wants, using her agility and strength to a perfect blend makes her unguardable. She sits atop the top scorers list with 31 points.