29 May 2007
KENYA : Nairobi Take Inter-Cities Basketball Title
By Caxton Apollo
Champions Nairobi City men and women's basketball teams yesterday retained the East and Central Africa inter-cities titles during the finals held at Nairobi's Nyayo Stadium.
Nairobi women's side set the ball rolling with a hard-fought 86-86 win over rivals Kampala City Council Leopards. Nairobi led 41-31 at half-time.
In the closely contested men's final last night, Nairobi had to battle from a narrow 40-39 half-time lead to beat stubborn Tanzania's Dar es Salaam 84-77.
A repeat of last year's final in Kampala saw Gilbert Batungi and Harun Ashiafru scare their hosts with an early 4-0 run.
After Yoni Wanambiro hit Nairobi's opening free-throw at 4-1, Ancette Wafula, who hit six three-pointers made it 4-4. Nairobi beat Tanzania's Mwanza 77-55 in the men's semi-final while Dar es Salaam defeated Kenya's Varsities 69-63 to qualify for the final.
Dar es Salaam remained a hard nut to crack as they again went up 8-7 in a hotly contested first quarter in which Nairobi finally led 22-16. There was tension from both sides as Dar es Salaam refused to go down tying the duel twice 22-22 and 34-34.
John Apollo, was left loose to nail a critical basket with Horace Nyandera's jump shot earning Nairobi a narrow 40--39 half-time lead.
After Dar es Salaam outscored Nairobi 23-18 in the second quarter, coach Gitau Waringo of Nairobi was still a worried man as the height advantaged Tanzanians locked it all 16-16 in the third quarter.
In the last quarter, Nairobi enjoyed a one point lead at (56-55) before Ben Oluoch and Nyandera fired from close range for a 6-0 run.
Dar es Salaam, who had a great game did not recover as Nairobi built a 10 points margin at (71-61) with four minutes left.
Wafula emerged the top scorer with 26 points, Wanambiro provided 11 for Nairobi while Jacob Marenga and Mohammed Ally each replied with 13 for Dar es Salaam.
Coach Waringo of Nairobi said: "There is nothing to celebrate because we only won our due to long experience since it took my players too long to penetrate their opponents good defence".