In winning gold in dominant fashion at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Cup, the USA Men’s and Women’s 3×3 U18 National Teams accomplished two feats.
One, this was the first year in nine tries the men’s team won the tournament.
Two, this was the first time both both gold medals went to the same nation. The men and women finished with records of 7-0.
Dawson Garcia of Prior Lake High School (Minnesota) was named MVP of the men’s team.
“We put in all this work and we’ve been away from our families for almost three weeks now, this is just surreal,” he said to USA Basketball.
Garcia scored the final four points against Italy in the quarterfinals, made the game-winning overtime shot in the semifinals against Russia, and scored 10 of the team’s 16 points in the championship game against Turkey.
The team, composed of Garcia, Devin Askew of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, California), Nimari Burnett of Prolific Prep (Chicago) and Ethan Morton of Butler (Pennsylvania), won all seven games en route to the title.
“Playing with USA across your chest, there is not really a better feeling than that when you are hearing your anthem,” Garcia said. “And we had the girls win, too, so that made it even more special.”
That they did.
The girls team had a star-studded lineup that included two ALL-USA players, First Team member Hailey Van Lith of Cashmere (Washington) and Second Team member Rickea Jackson of Edison (Detroit), and four-star players Olivia Cochran of Carver (Columbus, Georgia) and Madison Hayes of East Hamilton (Ooltewah, Tennessee).
With USA trailing Indonesia in the quarterfinals 7-6 with 5:11 remaining, Jackson took over. She made back-to-back baskets and finished with six points in the 16-10 win, according to USA Basketball.
Van Lith took charge in the next two games, scoring a team-high seven points in both the semifinals win over France and the championship win over New Zealand.
She was named Team MVP and Jackson joined her on the All-World Cup Team.
“There’s no words for winning the gold medal for your country,” Van Lith said to USA Basketball “Me and my teammates worked so hard for this and we just did it for the people back home and for our coach Kara (Lawson) who we’re blessed to have. We couldn’t be more thankful.”