DeShields, US team win gold

Diamond DeShields

Diamond DeShields

Being the youngest player by far on the U.S. Under-18 Women's National Basketball Team didn't seem to bother Diamond DeShields.

The 15-year-old, a rising sophomore at Norcross, more than held her own as the Americans won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championships for Women in Colorado Springs. The U.S. squad routed Brazil 81-38 in Sunday's championship game as DeShields scored 10 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Over the final three games, DeShields averaged 10.7 points on 11 of 22 shooting.

"I think she did great," said Norcross girls coach Angie Hembree, who traveled to Colorado to see DeShields play. "It seemed like every game she got a little better, a little better. With every game, she got a little more playing time and contributed more."

DeShields, who helped Norcross to a state championship earlier this year, broke out in the FIBA Americas quarterfinals with a team-best 14 points in a quarterfinal win over Puerto Rico.

She then added eight points (on 4 of 4 shooting) and four rebounds in a semifinal victory over Chile.

The contributions were a huge boost from a player who expected to spend four days in Colorado, just to gain some valuable experience. Instead she earned a roster spot on a team laden with older players.

"This is a big deal for her," DeShields said. "This is the equivalent of a Junior Olympics, so it's on an international scale that she's being recognized."