MANNHEIM, Germany — How pumped do you get when you’ve just knocked off the defending champions?

“Coach [Lionel Hollins] was the one running around in the locker room,” Ramstein’s Brent Schuck said after the U.S. ended France’s reign at the Albert Schweitzer international youth basketball tournament with a 77-69 victory on Sunday. “Everyone else was pretty calm.”

That calm was merely an extension of the composure the U.S. teens have shown in their first two games of this biennial event, which pits a pick-up team of American all-stars against the junior national teams of 15 other nations.

The Americans, who trailed 16-13 after one quarter, rallied to lead 36-27 at halftime, then calmly held off a French charge at the end.

Among the calmest on the floor Sunday was 6-foot-3 Oscar Bellfield. The future UNLV Runnin’ Rebel converted seven of nine three-point tries, including one with 3:31 to go that broke a 63-63 tie. Bellfield finished with a game-high 25 points.

Irving Walker sank the last of his four treys with two minutes to play to give the U.S. some breathing room at 69-65. Walker, who totaled 22 points, finished the job by sinking four free throws in the final 30 seconds.

Travis Releford finished with 15 points for the Americans, while Jeffree Withey snared a team-high 12 rebounds.

The victory put the Americans into the tourney’s championship bracket, regardless of the outcome of Monday night’s game against unbeaten Greece.

At 2-0 going into Monday night’s game, the U.S. and Greece, the 2002 champions of this event, had already advanced to a championship-bracket pool containing Spain and Argentina.

After an off-day Tuesday, the U.S., Greece, Spain and Argentina will begin play Wednesday night to see which two reach Friday’s semifinals.

Depending on Monday’s outcomes, the U.S. will tip off against either Spain or Argentina at 8 p.m. at the Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena here.

U.S. 77, France 69(Pool play Sunday in Mannheim)

U.S.13 23 19 22 - 77France16 11 26 16 - 69

Scoring-U.S.: Oscar Bellfield 25, Irving Walker 22, Travis Releford 15, Wally Judge 5, Jeffree Withey 4, Erik Murphy 2, Anthony Stover 2, Cashmere Wright 2; France: Christophe Leonard 12, Alexis Tanghe 11, Landing Sanhe 8, Elio Sadiky 8, Andrew Albici 8, Lens Aboudou 8, Nicolas Lang 7, Florian Thibedore 4, Thomas Celerier 2, Tanguy Ramassamy 1. Rebounding-U.S.: 40 (Withey 12, Judge 7, Bellfield 5, Murphy 4, Releford 4), France 44 (Leonard 13). Assists-U.S. 11 (Walker 5); France 14. Fouls: U.S. 15, France 20.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now