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Hebard off to good start at 3-on-3 world basketball championships

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: June 9, 2018
  • Published June 9, 2018

The game is smaller, but 6-foot-4 Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks is still coming up big.

Hebard on Saturday helped the United States to a pair of easy preliminary-round victories at the FIBA 3×3 World Championships in the Philippines.

Hebard scored five points in a 21-7 win over Iran and eight points in a 21-6 win over Andorra.

Ruthy Hebard

In 3-on-3 basketball, two teams of three players (plus one substitute) each play a half-court game with a single basket. Games end after 10 minutes or when one of the teams scores 21 points.

All four members of Team USA are from the University of Oregon — Hebard, 6-2 Erin Boley, 6-0 Oti Gildon and 5-11 Sabrina Ionescu.

"We saw that the teams were smaller, so we definitely focused on dominating inside and working on all the post moves we use at Oregon," Hebard said in a press release from USA Basketball.

Hebard and her teammates took command early in both games. They grabbed an 8-1 lead against Iran and led 13-3 midway through their game against Andorra.

"Getting out to strong start is really important because the games are so short and by the time to get near the end usually both teams are tired," Hebard said. "So, getting out to a great start when you're fresh and ready is really helpful."

Hebard, 20, is one of two Alaska basketball players representing the United States at international championships this summer.

Kamaka Hepa of Utqiagvik is a member of the 12-man team for players 18 and under that begins competition Sunday in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in St. Catharines, Ontario. He was selected from a pool of 33 players  who were invited to tryouts earlier this month in Colorado.

Hepa and his teammates will compete in pool-play games Sunday (Dominican Republic), Monday (Panama) and Tuesday (Puerto Rico).

Hebard and her teammates qualified for the 3-on-3 world championships by winning the national championship in April. They continue preliminary play Sunday with games against Uganda and defending champion Russia.

Quarterfinal, semifinal and championship games will be played Tuesday in Manila. The United States won gold medals in 2012 and 2014 and took bronze in 2016.

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