Top-eight Americup 3x3 finish for Jamaica
JAMAICA ACHIEVED a top-eight finish at last weekend's Americup 3x3 basketball tournament in Miami, Florida, on the back of victories over Aruba, Haiti and Chile. The men eventually bowed out in the quarter-final stage, while the women's team was eliminated early.
Jamaica triumphed in three of their four matches on the opening day of the tournament. Aruba and Haiti were dispatched by identical scores of 22-11 in the preliminaries, before Jamaica, seeded at 14, upset number six seed Chile 21-14.
Despite a 15-20 loss two hours later to Brazil, the number two team in the tournament, Jamaica advanced to the quarter-finals and a meeting with the top-seeded United States team.
Jamaica lost 17-22, as the USA went on to win the men's section with a 21-12 margin over the Brazilians in the final.
"We came out here and made a huge impact immediately," team member Kevin Foster told reporters in Miami. "Everybody knew, OK, Jamaica might have something.' That was our whole goal, to make people realise it's not just soccer, track and field; Jamaica is here. We're here to compete," Foster declared.
Foster and Taevaunn Price each scored six points against Haiti, with Jabulani Newby solid against Aruba, and Romaine Thomas notching eight against Chile.
Thomas lived in Jamaica before moving to New York and for him, representing the island has a special meaning.
"It just feels great to give everyone else a chance to see where we come from. See those kids looking up to us in Jamaica, we have to make a name for ourselves and show that basketball players also come from Jamaica," Foster noted.
National coordinator Rick Turner was not surprised.
"We're flying under the radar," he said earlier in the Americup proceedings. "And when we get a chance to show the world what we can do, good things will happen."
The women drew the short straw in a tight qualifying group. Seeded at 12, Jamaica opened with a 20-16 win over Guyana, the number 13 seeds. Earlier, the Guyanese had beaten Guatemala 20-16, making the Jamaica-Guatemala game a must-win for both nations. The Central Americans took that encounter 19-13, a result that eliminated the Jamaicans.
The USA were again the overall winners, with a 21-9 victory over Brazil in the final.