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Holly MacKenzie

Canadian Women go 2-0, Men 1-1 in Day 1 action at FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Hungary



May 16, 2024

DEBRECEN, Hungary (May 16, 2024) - The Canadian Men’s and Women’s 3x3 Teams are in Debrecen, Hungary looking to qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Kacie Bosch, Paige Crozon, Katherine Plouffe, and Michelle Plouffe are representing the women’s side while Jerome Desrosiers, Bikramjit Gill, Alex Johnson and Kamar McKnight are representing the men’s team in Hungary.

The Women’s squad went 2-0 in Day 1 action, earning a dominant 21-11 victory against Chile, as well as a 19-16 win over Lithuania.

“We knew it was going to be two tough games,” Katherine Plouffe said. “All of the teams are fighting for a spot in the Olympics so there are no easy battles, for sure.”

The Canadian Men’s team opened the day strong, defeating Spain 18-14, but fell against Egypt 21-18 despite a 10-point effort from Alex Johnson.

“After watching the film, a lot of the mistakes were our doing, so just learning and correcting to be better for Saturday [is the focus],” Johnson said.

The Canadian teams will need to finish top three in the tournament to earn their ticket to Paris.

Thursday was a great start for the Women’s Team as they opened play with that dominant 21-11 victory over Chile behind an eight-point, four-rebound effort from Michelle Plouffe and six points from Crozon in the win. Though the game was close to start, Canada used a pair of two-pointers from Michelle to break a tie and take a four-point lead with 6:49 remaining. After Chile made two two-pointers of their own to get back within a point, Canada locked in on both ends of the floor and ran away with the game. Canada held Chile scoreless over the final 5:38 of the game as they scored nine straight points to turn what was a 12-11 lead into a quick victory as Crozon drilled a two-pointer with 3:03 remaining to seal the win for Canada.

“We worked some things out on defence to make the least mistakes possible,” Katherine Plouffe said. “We did pretty good, we came out with a win.”

In Canada’s second game of the day, again the team was led by Michelle who finished with a game-high nine points and six rebounds while Katherine added six points and five boards as Canada had input from everyone on the roster to pull away for good in the final minutes. With the score tied at 10 points apiece, Michelle scored six straight points for Canada, but Lithuania kept the pace, trailing by just two, 16-14 with 1:50 remaining.

A free throw from Crozon, followed by a free throw from Bosch, extended the advance to four points with 1:21 remaining. Lithuania would score down the stretch, but ran out of time to try to complete a comeback as Michelle scored as time expired to seal the 19-16 win for the Canadians.

I’m super proud of these girls,” Katherine Plouffe said, “It feels good to get [wins] against good teams.”

On the men’s side, McKnight led the team with seven points and six rebounds while Johnson added six points and four rebounds in an 18-14 victory against Spain to open the day. The Canadians outrebounded Spain 22-18 in the win, including an offensive rebound secured by Johnson with 0.9 seconds remaining to protect the victory. After the two teams battled for just shy of 10 minutes, Johnson was fouled with 0.9 seconds remaining with Canada leading by one, 15-14.

After making the first free throw, Johnson missed the second, but grabbed his own offensive rebound, stepped beyond the two-point arc and drilled a two as time expired to protect the 18-14 victory.

Johnson continued his strong play in the team’s 21-18 loss to Egypt, finishing with 10 points and four highlights, while shooting 5-for-6 from the floor, including a perfect 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the loss.

The Canadians couldn’t slow Youssef Refaat, who scored four of Egypt’s points during a 7-0 run to turn an 11-all tie into an 18-11 advantage with 3:06 remaining. Refaat finished with a game-high nine points and seven highlights. Johnson did his best to help the team down the stretch, sinking back-to-back twos and scoring the final eight points of the game for Canada, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the strong offensive showing from Egypt.

After an off day on Friday, both teams will play on Saturday, May 18 with the women facing off against Czechia at 11:05 a.m. ET/8:05 a.m. PT, and the men taking on France at 11:55 a.m. ET/8:55 a.m. PT.

“It’s going be a dog fight and I'm excited,” Johnson said about Saturday’s games. “It’s everything you could ask for; You are in the driver seat and you control your destiny. Win or go home. We are going to do everything that is needed to be prepared for Saturday’s game.”

The Canadian Women’s team is looking to continue building off of a solid Day 1 in Hungary.

“For Saturday, we know Czechia has some good shooters,” Katherine Plouffe said. “ We’ve faced them a couple of times in the last year and last season [and had] two different outcomes: One we lost and one we won. We’re looking to improve communication because a lot of the game is on the move and on the fly. If anything can save you, it's communication and we’re always looking to tune that up.”

In such a high-paced environment with so much on the line, staying present is key.

“It’s like you’ve got to have a short-term memory with these things,” Katherine Plouffe said. “Especially when you’re playing for something like the Olympics…Take the meat, leave the bones and move on.”