It was a busy summer for Ontario athletes and coaches, representing Canada proudly at 5 international FIBA tournaments: FIBA U16 Americas Men’s and Women’s Championships, FIBA U19 Men’s & Women’s Basketball World Cups, and the Tokyo 2020 Women’s Basketball Olympics.
A total of 43 athletes and 16 coaches wore the red and white for Canada, returning home with one silver (U16 Women) and two bronze medal (U16 Men & U19 Men) winning teams.
FIBA U16 Americas Women’s Championship
The FIBA U16 Americas Women’s Championship was held August 23 to 29 in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico. Seven Ontario athletes and two coaches represented Canada, including coaches Nate McKibbon (Western University) and Fabienne Blizzard (Ottawa BlackJacks / Capital Courts).
U16 Women’s Team Canada competed in Group A with Brazil, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. Canada finished with a 5-1 record, making it all the way to the final. Canada would come home with silver, losing to an unstoppable Team USA, 118-45.
Standout players from Ontario included Jada Bediako (Southwest Academy) and Taija Sta Maria (Crestwood Prep). Cassandre Prosper (from Quebec but competing for Capital Courts in the OSBA) was the top player for Canada.
FIBA U16 Americas Men’s Championship
The FIBA U16 Americas Men’s Championship was held August 23 to 29 in Xalapa, Mexico. Ten athletes and four coaches from Ontario represented Canada. Canada competed in Group A with Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, and was coached by Patrick Tatham (McMaster University), with assistants Jason Dawkins (George Brown College / OBA), Charles Hantoumakos (Fort Erie International Academy), and Tarry Upshaw (Regional Elite Development Academy / Ridley College).
Canada would lose in the semi-finals to the USA (99-81), but come back to defeat the Dominican Republic, 92-76, for the bronze medal and a 4-2 record. Standout Ontario players included Mikkel Tyne (Huntington Prep), Ose Okojie (undecided) and Ishan Sharma (Fort Erie International Academy).
FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup
The FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup 2021 was held in Hungary, August 7 – 15. Seven athletes and two coaches represented Canada U19 on the world stage. The U19 Women’s team was led by head coach Fabienne Blizzard (Capital Courts Academy), and assistant coaches were Tamara Tatham (University of Toronto Varsity Blues) and Marlo Davis (Crestwood Prep).
Canada would go on to finish the tournament with a 4-3 record, defeating the Czech Republic for a 5th place finish. Shayeann Day-Wilson (Duke University) had the best tournament showing amongst Ontario players, averaging 18.1 PPG.
FIBA U19 Men’s Basketball World Cup
The FIBA U19 Men’s Basketball World Cup was held July 3-11 in Riga, Latvia. 9 Ontario athletes and 4 Ontario coaches competed for Canada. The U19 Men were coached by Paul Weir (Eastern New Mexico University), with assistants Patrick Tatham (McMaster University), Shawn Swords (Laurentian University), and Justin Serresse (Wilfrid Laurier University).
Team Canada went 6-1 through the tournament, their only loss coming in the semi-finals to Team USA. Canada U19 Men took home the bronze medal with a 101-92 victory over Serbia. Top performers from Ontario included Zach Edey (Purdue University), Caleb Houstan (University of Michigan), and Ryan Nembhard (Creighton University).
Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics women’s basketball competition was held July 26 to August 8. 10 Ontario athletes and two Ontario coaches represented Canada on the biggest international stage. Coaches Lisa Thomaidis (University of Saskatchewan) and Carly Clarke (Ryerson University) led the charge.
The only Canadian national basketball team to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Canada competed in Group A with Spain, Serbia and South Korea and were led by WNBA stars Kia Nurse (Phoenix Mercury), Bridget Carleton and Natalie Achonwa (both Minnesota Lynx). Unfortunately, Canada went 1-2 in the group stage and did not qualify for the knockout round.
All team photos courtesy of FIBA.