The USA remains atop the youth basketball world as they defeated Spain 79-67 to capture the title at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022 – even though the home side really put up a strong challenge.
Jeremy Fears poured in 17 points as the Americans’ leading scorer while Ron Holland scored 13 points and Cooper Flagg added 10 points, 17 rebounds, 8 steals, and 4 blocks for an efficiency rating of 30. Flagg was outstanding throughout the game while Fears was a major spark in the Americans’ decisive 22-4 run in the third quarter.
That spurt carried USA to a sixth consecutive U17 World Cup title following 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018. In each of those tournaments, USA went through the competition undefeated and head coach Sharman White’s team finished the job in the Final in Malaga.
USA had been dominant all tournament, winning every game by at least 26 points and improving their all-time record to 43-0 before the Final. But backed by nearly 7,000 spectators, Spain were up to the challenge. They had a seven-point lead after 10 minutes and increased the lead to eight points in the second quarter. To the excitement of the fans, the hosts were up 38-33 at the intermission.
Spain still led 47-40 with 7 minutes left in the third quarter when USA’s defensive pressure started forcing turnovers and resulted in a 22-4 run to lead 62-51 after three quarters. The momentum had shifted and USA withstood any challenge in the final frame and added another perfect run to global glory.
In the Third-Place Game, France defeated Lithuania 66-58 thanks to 16 points from Ilane Fibleuil as the Europeans collected claimed their second-ever U17 World Cup medal following second place in 2018.
The TISSOT MVP award for the tournament went to Izan Almansa of Spain. Joining him on the All-Star Five were the USA duo of Cooper Flagg and Koa Peat, Almansa’s Spanish teammate Lucas Langarita and Ilane Fibleuil of third-place finishers France.
FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2022 Final Standings
1. United States
12. New Zealand
13. Dominican Republic