Though the American team tackled the 2020 Furry Olympics’ basketball tournament as the prohibitive favorites, their domination hasn’t been to the same level of four years ago – a true testament to the sport’s growth and the effort many nations have made in order to thwart them from their Olympic throne. One of said nations was South Korea, whose terrific showing in the quarter-finals against Great Britain has won them a spot in the final four – making up for their group phase elimination in 2016 with one of the strongest offensive performances in the entire tournament, something that seemingly worried the American fans in the lead-up to the game.
The USA started the semifinal with determination, Leon Delmont (Cougar, G) immediately drawing the first blood off an assist from Terry O’Toole (Irish Wolfhound, F/G) – the two rising stars having cemented their worth as starters for the American team all throughout this tournament. South Korea was quick to answer as Lee Jin-Sung (Black Bear, F) muscled his way through the paint to score an easy lay-up over Scoonie Barrett (Otter, F/C). Lee was rather effective throughout the first half, spearheading the Asians’ offense against an obviously stronger American side. Together with fellow FBA dweller Derek Kim (Kkachi, G), the ursine was able to contain the opponents’ attack and keep his team focused – no matter how the gap between the two teams kept ballooning, reaching 19 points (63-44 in the USA’s favor) after the end of the 1st half.
The teams returned onto the court anxious to prove themselves, the following quarter being rather balanced as the Americans kept the Koreans on a tight leash – their lead never getting under single digits, and even reaching 20 as Narkissa Kassius (Ringtail Lemur, G) scored an unguarded three-pointer to close the 3rd quarter. Lee and Kim wanted no part of that, though, as the two friends started ramping up the aggression against Team US – the avian repeatedly serving Lee with spot-on assists, allowing the ursine to post one of the best games of his career as he ended with 31 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Americans took very little to go into disarray, Coach Angus MacPherson (Highland Bull) being forced to call an emergency time-out as Kim was able to draw a 4-point play when O’Toole clumsily fouled on his shot from outside – the canine being forced to the bench shortly after as the sixth was called on him, Jonathan Lawyer (Meerkat, G) immediately taking his spot at small forward. Once more, it fell to Kassius to lead the Americans out of their rut: the lemur’s scoring took off late in the 4th, a late bonus allowing her and Delmont to go multiple times to the charity stripe (they scored a combined 19 out of 20 free throws). The Koreans’ astounding clawback kept the game in contention for a long time, before a three-pointer from Lawyer with just 9.3 seconds on the clock certified the Americans’ victory, 110 to 107.
-A. Villaraigosa, FurryOlympics.com