Jayden Hodgson of Waves claims Silver medal at U17's World Championships
In a gutsy performance from the young Australian team, they threw everything at the undefeated Americans, clawing back a double digit deficit on countless occasions, cutting the lead to just five points inside the final minute.
Late free throws converted by the USA ensured they would take the win, but not without the Australians giving them their biggest scare of the tournament.
Capping off the second consecutive podium finish for an Australian team at the 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championships (silver medal in 2012), star duo Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic were named in the All-Star Five.
Humphries created headlines when he dropped a tournament-record 41 points (along with 19 rebounds and five blocks) against Canada in the group stage, going on to average 18.9 points, 11.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in seven games.
Capping off his tournament with a 29-point outing in the Gold Medal Game, Vasiljevic was one of the best scorers of the championships and the premier rebounding guard, averaging 17.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 three-pointer per game.
An upset looked on the cards in the opening quarter as the Australians raced to a 17-7 lead, with the Americans struggling to find their rhythm.
The defending championships began to work their way back into the game late in the quarter, taking a 28-27 lead courtesy of a buzzer-beating shot from Tyus Battle.
Foul trouble sent Humphries to the bench early in the second quarter as the USA utilized their size and athletic advantage inside to stretch the lead to seven points at half time.
Vasiljevic and Tom Wilson (23 points, six rebounds and seven assists) kept the Australians in the contest, during a third quarter in which the USA constantly threatened to blow the game open, posting 16 of the team’s 21 points for the quarter.
The final quarter saw Wilson and Vasiljevic come to the fore, carrying the team through stretches where the USA looked certain to close out the contest.
After trailing by 10 points inside the final 90 seconds, the USA began to show signs of cracking as the Australians cut the lead to just five points and would have opportunities to cut the margin even further from the free throw line.
The luck wasn’t on the Australian side in the dying moments as the USA held on to record a narrow seven-point win and claim the 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championship.
Basketball Australia would like to congratulate the Airbnb Australian Under 17 Men’s Team on winning the Silver Medal at the 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championship in Dubai.
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Airbnb Australian Under 17 Men’s Team – 2014 FIBA Under 17 World Championships
Abiola Akintola VICM/CoE
Kyle Clark TAS
Harrison Froling QLDN/CoE
Deng Gak NSWM/CoE
Jayden Hodgson NSWC
Isaac Humphries NSWM/CoE
Trent McMullan VICC
Kouat Noi NSWC
Matthew Owies VICM
Dejan Vasiljevic VICM/CoE
Jackson White VICC/ CoE
Thomas Wilson VICM/CoE
Head Coach – Mark Watkins
Assistant Coaches – Jamie O’Loughlin, Justin Schueller
Manager – Jason Membrey
Doctor – Brendon Aubrey
Physiotherapist – Bruce Anderson