ORLANDO, FL: Players, coaches and fans returned to the ESPN Wide World of Sports hardwood on Wednesday for the second day of pool play at the Jr. NBA Global Championship. The day featured rim-rattling jams, 4th-quarter comeback wins and plenty of highlight-reel performances across the board. From the U.S. regional teams to the international squads traveling in from abroad, skill and talent were showcased plentifully throughout the entire day.
Before the action even began, the South Girls provided one of the heartwarming stories of the tournament. During regional qualifying, Jade Clack suffered a knee injury which would leave her sidelined for the rest of qualifying and the Jr. NBA Global Championship. The South Girls came to the Jr. NBA Global Championship without Clack as she would not be able to compete in the tournament. Unbeknownst to the squad, Clack had traveled to Orlando on Tuesday night to surprise her teammates on Wednesday morning before their first game of the day. The result was inspiring.
One of the best comebacks of the tournament happened on Wednesday afternoon as the Mid-Atlantic Girls outscored the South Girls 20-5 in the 4th Quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit in the final period. Kendall Dudley’s 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks helped the Mid-Atlantic girls secure the win.
The top individual performance of the day came from the West Boys’ Taj DeGourville, who poured in a game-high 29 points and 6 rebounds on 10-16 shooting from the field (62.5%) and 7-12 shooting from deep (58.3%). DeGourville recorded his impressive line in just 23 minutes and 22 seconds with only 2 turnovers and a +31 plus-minus.
Wednesday’s top overall play also came from the West Boys on an absurd alley-oop throwdown. Nathanial Simon grabbed an outlet pass and started dribbling his way down the floor when he noticed a decisive 2-on-1 advantage on the fast break. Simon decided to lob the ball off the backboard as Quinton Webb soared through the lane and slammed it down with authority. The jam was one of Webb’s three massive dunks of the day.
While the West Boys certainly knew how to throw down on Wednesday, they weren’t the only squad with highlight reel plays on day two of pool play. In the first quarter of the Midwest Girls’ first game of the day, Lasonja Hill went behind the back for a give-and-go layup to beat the first-quarter buzzer.
The Central Girls found themselves in the top plays of the day when Jada Williams hit a tough stepback jumper in leading her team to a big win. Williams finished the contest with a balanced line of 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 steal.
On the boys’ side, Team Africa provided two of the biggest one-handed thowdowns of the day. Marouf Moumine elevated for a big-time jam for the first of the two dunks, while Seydina Limamoulaye Faye hammered home a tomahawk slam on the second dunk.
Jadyn Donovan of the Mid-Atlantic Girls turned in the top defensive performance of the day with an impressive 6 blocks. She also posted 13 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Donovan was a key catalyst in the Mid-Atlantic Girls’ comeback win.
Later in the evening, the Canada Boys pulled off an exceptional comeback of their own. After trailing by 14 points at the end of the first half, Team Canada outscored the China Boys 36-10 in the 4th Quarter and 47-25 in the second half, securing the come-from-behind victory. Jovan Milicevic led the Canada Boys team with 20 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in just under 29 minutes of action.
Tournament play will take a break on Thursday for Jr. NBA Day of Service. In partnership from EA Sports and Hands on Orlando, alongside former NBA players Bo Outlaw, Sam Perkins and Greivis Vasquez, over 300 Jr. NBA athletes will assist on a series of refurbishment projects to benefit H.O.M.E., an organization that “breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing housing and supportive services to homeless women and their children.” The project will include landscaping, bench-building, painting and dedicating a refurbished basketball court.
Bracket play will tip off with boys’ and girls’ quarterfinal action on Friday starting at 1 PM ET from the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. To keep up with all the latest news, highlights and stories surrounding the Jr. NBA Global Championship, follow @JrNBA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.