RECIFE, Brazil — Canada will play the United States for bronze on Sunday, following a tough AmeriCup semifinal battle with Brazil on Saturday.
Despite closing the deficit to three points late in the fourth quarter on Saturday, the Canadian men couldn't pull even with the hosts and eventually lost 86-76. Earlier in the day, the United States lost 82-73 to Argentina in the other semifinal.
Jahvon Henry-Blair paced Canada's offence with 24 points, including 4-of-5 three-point attempts. Dalano Banton had 12 points, while Abu Kigab chipped in with 10 points and Lloyd Pandi had nine.
Brazil was led by Leonardo Meindl with 19 points, while Lucas Dias had 14. Vitor Benite and Lucas Mariano each scored 13 points for the hosts.
Brazil led 44-34 at the half and 67-54 after three quarters.
Despite the loss, it has been a rewarding journey for Team Canada at the AmeriCup. The team has shown growth with each game, despite its youth.
“It means a lot,” Team Canada head coach Nathaniel Mitchell said. “It’s my first time head coaching and to have a team like this that plays so hard, an opportunity to represent my country, I can't say enough.”
Brazil has beaten Canada in 12 of their previous 17 meetings. Canada was looking to get over the semifinals hump of the AmeriCup, reaching this stage for the eighth time but only advancing to the final one-time in 1999.
“I think you don’t get these opportunities (very often), and then guys like this who come out and play so hard, you just want them to win so badly for them to feel the opportunity to represent their country and to win a medal,” Mitchell said.
“Even with this (loss), against a good team, we’re going to wipe it from our memory and try to figure out how to win tomorrow and leave here with a medal. That’s the only focus I have right now.
"My team, my players, my staff, giving me the amount of confidence to be able to represent the country, it’s an unbelievable honour.”
Sunday's bronze-medal final is scheduled to tip off at 4:10 p.m. ET.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 10, 2022
The Canadian Press