The GLOBL JAM finals are now set in stone as both the Canadian men and women are off to the gold medal games on Sunday. Both teams look like they’ve found their stride. The women are a well oiled machine on offence that has grinded with every team they’ve faced so far, effectively using their bigs and being one of the best three-point shooting teams in the tournament. The men, while shaky at times offensively, renewed life as a defensive powerhouse against Germany that could be the answer to slowing down Kentucky.
Canada (U23 Women) vs. Puerto Rico
The rematch of one of the tournament’s best games is set, as Canada is on to the finals games to face Louisville (USA) after beating Puerto Rico 81-59.
Canada built an early lead showcasing the inside-out game they have quickly become known for in the tournament, but Puerto Rico found success playing physical defence and grinding into the paint for buckets and tied the game at 21-21 at the end of the first quarter behind Trinity San Antonio’s six points in the quarter.
The two teams continued to battle in the second quarter, with Keishana Washington leading the charge for Canada, but a last-minute run would start to find a brief bit of separation between the two teams as Canada took a 38-35 lead into halftime.
San Antonio picked up her third foul shortly into the third quarter, and Puerto Rico began to struggle to keep pace with Canada’s dynamic guards, and a massive from Canada saw them comfortably finish out the game despite San Antonio’s 20-point performance for Puerto Rico.
“Our defensive momentum picked up (with San Antonio out),” said Washington. “We really had to pick up our energy on the defensive end, force turnovers, and capitalize off them.”
Washington led Canada with 18 points, with Niyah Becker adding 13 points, seven rebounds, and three steals.
Louisville aka Team USA now awaits Canada in the gold medal game on Sunday as Canada will look to defend their crown as the inaugural GLOBL JAM women’s gold medal winner, but Washington says the pressure is off as Canada and USA will square off one last time.
“I don’t think there’s any pressure (to repeat). We’re going to look at this game the same way we look at any other game,” said Washington. “We’ll key in on certain things we have to fix from the last game and do our thing and get the win.”
CAN vs. Puerto Rico boxscore click HERE.
Canada (U23 Men) vs. Germany (U23 Men)
The Canadian men rallied from behind on Saturday night as they beat Germany 84-81 in a stunning overtime victory to book their ticket to the gold medal game.
Throughout the majority of the game, neither side was able to pull away. Canada was given fits inside by the German center rotation, seven-footers Norris Agbakoko and Bent Leuchten. Germany also had issues containing Addison Patterson, who routinely sparked the Canadian offence when it went through droughts in the first half.
The second half looked like Canada would begin to fade away in a performance that resembled their Thursday night loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. The Canadians eventually fell behind by 17 points as Malte Delow poured in a game-high 22 points for the Germans, and Jonas Mattiseck added 19 points as well.
Canada finally found life at the end of the third quarter when a run saw them cut the lead to ten points off a Kellen Tynes buzzer-beater. Tynes would be one of the architects of comeback efforts as the NCAA steals leader put up 12 points with nine steals, nine assists, and five rebounds.
With momentum on their side, Canada began to claw back into the game. Carleton legend, Aiden Warnholtz, delivered another classic performance with 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists, leading the Canadian offence as the Germans began to sputter out.
Jahmyl Telfort, who had 11 points and five rebounds, would eventually tie the game with 58 seconds remaining, capping a 16-2 run that forced overtime, and Enoch Boakye’s physical presence would effectively neutralize the German size inside. Boakye also played a pivotal role offensively in the second half with 18 points, seven rebounds, and a bevy of emphatic dunks.
In overtime, Canada took a 73-72 lead, giving them the lead for the first time since the quarter, and a Telfort slam dunk and foul all but secured the win for Canada.
The Canadians will now head on to the gold medal match on Sunday night, where they’ll be taking on the Kentucky Wildcats aka Team USA, in a rematch of their second game, where Kentucky won 93-69. Kentucky was given a bit of a scare on Saturday from BAL Select, as the African representatives routinely brought the game to uncomfortably close margins before Kentucky pulled away and won 104-92.
Expect the Mattamy Athletic Centre to be painted Kentucky blue once again as the Canadian men will be looking to secure their first gold medal at GLOBL JAM.
CAN vs. Germany boxscore click HERE.
Photo courtesy Reel Motion Imaging