Rowan Barrett Jr. Late Game Heroics Carries Canada Past Australia at U17 FIBA World Championships
Team Canada’s U17 Team has started their road to Gold in #FIBAU17 World Championships in Zaragoza, Spain; having played their first game this morning against Australia, and sneaking out the win 81-78, with the late game heroics of Rowan Barrett Jr. coming clutch. A nonchalant 22 points and 11 rebounds from Simi Shittu as well as a quiet 14 points from Andrew Nembhard sealed it.
China and Finland are the other teams in Group C of the tournament. Canada plays Finland on Satruday in their game two of the tournament.
The expectation has been placed higher than what was shown this morning. The Canadian U17 roster is too loaded with talent to come into games sluggish and allow inferior teams hang around. From a defensive standpoint, Canad has not even close to maxed out potential. On the offensive end, head Coach Dave DeAveiro was not content with the ball movement, it stuck too much instead of staying in motion.
“You can take over a game defensively if you put your mind to it. We need it now!”
Coach DeAveiro urged them to pick it up on D, to raise their level of aggression.
The sooner they do this, the better they can prepare for the United States.
Moving forward, the players will need to trust each other more and not rely on creating offense through one on one.
Shittu and Nembhard had 5 and 4 steals respectively, but the rest of the team was more lax on defense. The length is there to really apply pressure and dive into the passing lanes for steals and fast break opportunities.
Credit Stefan Smith for his game changing plays and deny defense. Asides from having 11 points and three rebounds, Smith showed his grit by diving for 50/50 balls while also closing out on shooters and boxing out.
Canada started the game with a 10-0 lead, but Australia was able to keep it close the entire game. The biggest lead of the game belonged to Canada near the end of the 3rd quarter at 56-41.
Mid way through the 3rd quarter Canada made a push by stepping it up defensively and gaining as much as a 14 point lead that was quickly defused by Aussie shooting guard Dragan Elkaz who got hot from the three point line.
Samson Froling was also a major contributor for the Aussies, pitching in with 15 points and eight rebounds and was 100% from the field on 5/5.
By the five minute mark of the 4th quarter Australia had regained a lead 71-64.
Australia’s Elkaz was going for the jugular with his outside shooting at a whooping 71%.
Team Canada was able to stop the clock by getting to the free throw line, but that’s where they hurt themselves as well by not being able to convert and shooting 46% from the stripe.
Rowan Barrett Jr regained the lead for the red and white with 25 seconds left in the game as he came down the lane and dunked on his defender before finishing the three point play.
Game two of the tournament gets underway at 10:30 am (ET) on Saturday. The team will study film in preparation and hopefully come out with a more fluid offense and sense of urgency on defense against Finland.