ORLANDO, FL: Two World Champions will be crowned Sunday afternoon on FOX following an exciting day of bracket play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.
The Europe Girls were the first team to advance to the World Championship round as they staved off a late surge by Asia Pacific. Up by as much as ten late in the fourth quarter, Europe was able to make crucial baskets down the stretch to win 45-42. Raina Tomasicka had a game-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds, while Julianna Haddad cleaned up the defensive side of the court with 11 defensive rebound and 15 overall. Asia Pacific’s Ally Marshal and Tess Heal combined for 32 points in the losing effort.
Europe will face the Central in the World Championship after the they beat the Mid-Atlantic Girls in another down to the wire thriller. The Central Girls needed a total team effort to get the win, 45-41. Four different players finished the game with at least seven points. Central managed to tie the game late after trailing for the majority of the contest, and with 40 seconds left on the clock Gabriella Henderson-Artis hit what would be the game winning three from way downtown. Henderson-Artis finished the game with a team-high 11 points.The Mid-Atlantic was led by Kiki Rice, who finished with a double-double: 11 points, 14 rebounds.
Africa & Middle East Boys impressed with their exceptional athleticism in their decisive victory over Canada, 93-75. Led by Marouf Moumine who had the first triple-double in Jr. NBA World Championship history. Moumine had 28 points, 21 rebounds, and 12 assists. Africa & Middle East played a very intensive, transition heavy game where they pushed the pace at any chance they had. Canada was able to stay within striking distance until the 4th quarter when the deficit began to extend out of reach. Canada’s Rashane Smith shot 67% from the field to lead his team with 22 points in the loss.
The Central Boys will look to continue their undefeated run in Orlando against Africa & Middle East. The Central beat the Southeast in the last game of the day, 69-53. Central was spurred to victory by an incredible defensive effort in the second quarter where they held Southeast to just three points. Mark Mitchell, Jr. and Taj Manning continued their stellar performances by combining for 40 points and 17 boards in the win. The game was a stark contrast to the International Championship. Play was methodical and organized, as opposed to the very fast style of Africa & Middle East.
Legends of all kinds were on hand to take care of the action. Grant Hill, Swin Cash, Jason Collins, and Bo Outlaw all sat courtside over the course of the day to take in the action. Jr. NBA Ambassador, Dwyane Wade, took to the mic in the arena to congratulate all of the participants at the inaugural event. Vince Carter and Donny Marshall were joined by legendary play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson on the call of the U.S. and International Finals games.
The journey for the teams ends tomorrow with the Girls World Championship between Europe and Central at 3:30PM on FOX. The Boys World Championship will immediately follow the conclusion of the Girls game as Africa & Middle East take on the Central.