FIBA Americas U18 Championships pushed back

The Bahamas’ Under-18 (U18) Boys National Basketball Team will have to wait a little longer to get a chance to play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were scheduled to play in the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Americas U18 Championships from June 7 to 13.

According to a communication sent out late April by FIBA Americas President Carol Callan and Executive Director Carlos Alves, the tournament will now have a new confirmed date. A host is expected to be announced by the end of July.

The Bahamas will have to wait a little longer to go up against basketball powerhouses like the United States, Canada, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Teams will be vying for four spots to play in the FIBA Under-19 (U19) World Cup in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 2021.

For the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup, the two top-ranked nations in the Americas will qualify directly; and the remaining six teams qualified for the FIBA Americas U18 Championships will play a separate tournament for two additional spots. As of March 4, the United States and Canada are the two top teams at number one and number two in the Americas and the world respectively.

The United States is the reigning champion.

This was set to be the second straight year that the boys’ national basketball team would have been in action as they finished third at last summer’s FIBA Under-17 (U17) Centrobasket Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

That tournament was a qualifier for the U18 tournament, and this is the third time that The Bahamas has qualified for the FIBA Americas U18 Championships.

At last year’s Centrobasket Championships, it was an uphill battle for The Bahamas to secure the third and final spot for the FIBA Americas U18 Cahampionships this year.

In the third-place game, The Bahamas took down the Dominican Republic, 85-83, in a nail-biter to qualify.

The Bahamas lost to Mexico 64-48 in their semi-final match up. The Dominican Republic fell to the Puerto Ricans, 74-70, in their semi-final game.

In the game against the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas’ Deyton Albury led the way, dropping in a team-high 28 points.

Albury missed a late tie-breaking layup with the game deadlocked at 83, but Romad Dean cleaned up the miss as he got a putback dunk to seal the win for The Bahamas.

Dean ended the game with a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.

Albury also finished the game with an efficient 12-for-24 shooting performance from the field. He also showed his playmaking skills as he dished out a game-high six assists and had four steals.

Malik Joseph and Tyler Pinder added 12 points apiece for The Bahamas.

The Bahamas finished second in group play with a 2-1 win/loss record.

Along with Albury, Joseph, Dean and Pinder, Joshua Burrows, Isaiah Braynen, Reagan Roberts, Denardo Adderley, D’Ante Dean, Jaydian Smith, Chester McPhee and Oswaald Meadows were all members of the team.

The head coach was Quentin Hall and he was assisted by Kevin Clarke, Mark Hanna and Denykco Bowles.

It is a long wait for the local players who are at home as they have to get back into game shape and be ready for action whenever the date and location of the tournament is confirmed.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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