Canada claims silver in U-18 Americas Championship, loses basketball final to U.S.


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Canada will return home from the Under-18 women’s Americas Championship with a silver medal, but there were moments on Sunday when the basketball squad looked like it had a chance to upset the powerhouse U.S. squad.

Despite trailing 41-31 at halftime in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Canadians closed the gap and only trailed the U.S. by four points entering the final quarter. But the gold-medal winners had another gear and after Canada made it 60-56 with just over nine minutes to play the U.S. shifted into overdrive and left the Canucks wondering what could have been.

The U.S., which had no problems in pool play or getting to the championship final, won 82-77 in a buzzer-to-buzzer battle.

The U.S. held quarter leads of 20-16, 41-31 and 57-53.

Tournament all-star T’yana Todd led Canada with 19 points, while teammate Mary-Anna Asare netted 15. Cotie McMahon had a game-high 22 points for the U.S., with Kira Rice scoring 18.

“We felt the team really competed, continued to bounce back from a couple of deficits, and kept them- selves in the game right until the end,” Team Canada head coach Steve Baur said.

“In the end, the U.S.A.’s effort on the offensive glass was just too much to overcome,” Baur added. “This sets the tone for us heading into Worlds next year, building some confidence and a good foundation moving forward.”

Canada shot 42 per cent in the game compared to 39 per cent for the United States. The U.S. made up the difference on the glass, out-rebounding Canada 45-40, including 16-8 on the offensive glass.

“We really fought back at the end, but we just came up short,” Todd said. “I’m proud of the whole team. We all fought until the very end and I’m proud of the team we became in a very short time.”

RIM SHOTS: In Sunday’s bronze-medal game, host Argentina beat Brazil 55-50. In Saturday’s semifinals, the U.S. dunked Brazil 84-40, while Canada beat Argentina 78-63. Canada finished the tournament with five wins in six games.