Aijha Blackwell and the USA womens U18 team got off to a strong start at the FIBA Americas Tournament Wednesday.
Team USA routed Argentina 87-42 in a Group A opening game at the Gimnasio Olímpico Juan de la Barrera in Mexico City.
Blackwell, who is about to enter her senior season at Whitfield, scored 13 points to help lead the team in the victory.
"Before the game, I was very emotional. I mean, I prayed and prayed to be on this team, and I prayed to play in a FIBA tournament, and it’s actually happening," Blackwell said. "So, my first game, I just went out there and gave it all I had — left it all on the court.
Team USA led by 10 points at the end of the first quarter and increased the lead to 38-15 by halftime.
Blackwell, the 6-foot guard-forward who was an All-Metro first team selection as a junior, led the area with an average of 24.2 points per game for a Warriors team that finished 23-7 and took third in Class 3 last year.
NaLyssa Smith also had 13 points for team USA.
"As a team we played hard. We kept each other motivated, and we kept pushing," Blackwell said. "I don’t think we gave up on any plays. We just played really hard throughout the entire game."
The Americans join Puerto Rico, a 74-69 winner over Chile, as the two unbeaten teams atop Group A.
Team USA returns to the court at 2 p.m. Thursday against Chile.