College of the Canyons men’s basketball head coach Howard Fisher is currently in Israel coaching the USA Youth Men’s Basketball team during the 20th World Maccabiah Games. The following is the third in a series of journal entries sharing his thoughts and experiences throughout the trip.
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Team USA Youth Men’s Basketball has concluded pool play at the 20th World Maccabiah Games with a 3-0 record after posting impressive wins over Canada, Mexico and Australia to begin the tournament.
Our team has really come together and continues to play hard. They are unselfish and always make the extra pass when able to.
Our first game vs. Canada was a lesson in FIBA (International Basketball Federation) rules as both players and coaches had to adjust to the foul calls — and no calls — of the officials.
After settling down and getting the nervousness out, we went on a run and won 94-55. Three-point shots were falling and our defensive pressure and depth was just too strong for our northern neighbors to handle.
Game two vs. Mexico featured more of the same, as Team USA jumped out to a 15-0 lead in the first 90 seconds of play and never looked back.
As tempers got heated Team USA steamrolled its way to a 121-26 victory. All 12 players on the roster scored and there was lots of excitement from the bench and the largely pro-USA crowd.
That same trend continued in the game vs. Australia, in which our depth proved positive as we rolled to a decisive 118-35 victory.
A family friend of one our players generously produced a batch of USA T-shirts featuring our team photo on the back, which our fans and supporters have been proudly wearing throughout the week!
This morning, we joined the USA baseball team for an outing to the Ancient Walled City of Akko. Located in the north of Haifa bay, Akko is one of the oldest cities in the world, having been built upon the ruins of previous civilizations.
We then travelled farther north to Rosh Hanikra located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea on the border between Israel and Lebanon, to view the naturally-formed grottoes and old train tunnels dating back to World War II.
With the group round behind us, Team USA will now advance to the medal round. We will next face Argentina in the semi-finals on Friday, and will await the results between Canada and Israel in the other semi-final matchup.
The World Maccabiah Games are the world’s third largest international sporting event, with more than 9,000 total participants representing over 75 nations.
Maccabi USA, the games’ host organization, builds Jewish pride through sports, generating the emotional intensity, high ideals, and powerful camaraderie of competition.