Kylee Watson is a step closer to making the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U-16 National Team.

USA Basketball named the Mainland Regional High School freshman one of 18 finalists to make the team. The Linwood resident has been at the team trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, since last Thursday.

The 12-player team will be announced before the team leaves Sunday to compete in the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship, which will be held June 7-11 in Buenos Aires.

A total of 133 players arrived at the camp hoping to make the team. Watson, 15, was one of 35 players around the country invited to try out.

"As with every trials in our country, it's an extremely competitive process," Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team director and chair of the selection committee, said in a statement Monday. “We feel like we were able to find 18 athletes who are versatile, who have every position and type of player covered, that can push the ball, play in the half court and defend in many ways. We have 18 athletes that will make it difficult to get to 12 players, but we feel the team that will be selected will be successful in Argentina."

Watson averaged 16.4 points, nine rebounds and 2.3 blocks for Mainland last winter. The Mustangs went 22-7 and reached the South Jersey Group III final. Watson was named a first-team Press All-Star.

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I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.

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