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No hoops medal for Hebard, but Hepa keeps racking up big wins

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: June 12, 2018
  • Published June 12, 2018

Alaska basketball players Ruthy Hebard and Kamaka Hepa experienced some shock and awe on the international stage Tuesday.

Hebard and her American teammates suffered a shocking loss in the quarterfinals of the FIBA 3×3 Women's World Championships in Manila, Philippines.

After cruising through preliminary play undefeated, the United States was stunned 17-14 by eventual champion Italy. The winners of gold medals in 2012 and 2014 and bronze in 2016, the Americans left the 3-on-3 tournament without a medal.

Meanwhile, Hepa and his USA Basketball teammates continued to impress at the FIBA Americas U18 men's championship in St. Catharines, Ontario.

The United States rolled past Puerto Rico 115-71 on Tuesday to remain undefeated in three preliminary games.

Hepa, a 6-foot-9 forward from Utgiagvik who will be a freshman at the University of Texas in the fall, got limited playing time, contributing four points and three rebounds in seven minutes.

The game followed two awe-inspiring performances by the Americans — a 118-26 win over Panama on Monday and a 105-73 win over the Dominican Republic on Sunday. Hepa had 11 rebounds and four points in 18 minutes against Panama and four rebounds and two points in eight minutes against the Dominican Republic.

The Americans will be the top seed from their pool when the knockout round begins Thursday.

Hepa's team, which is averaging 112 point a game, is considered a lock for a medal. It would be the first for Hepa, who is making his USA Basketball debut at the tournament.

Hebard, a 6-4 forward from Fairbanks who will be a junior at Oregon in the fall, is playing in her third international tournament. She won a gold medal at the 2016 Americas U18 tournament and silver at the 2017 U19 World Cup.

"This was a great experience," Hebard said in a press release from USA Basketball. "There were tons of fans here so it was great to play in another big environment, it's great to try out different food and off the court make memories.

"We grew, we thought we could do better and we learned individually what we can do in the offseason and hopefully we'll get invited back and get gold medal next year."

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