28 February 2008

KENYA : St. Mary’s dribble their way into second round

Publication Date: 2/28/2008

Hosts St. Mary’s School scored a 78-45 win over Kitisuru High to romp into the second round of the Nairobi Secondary Schools Sports Association’s boys’ basketball league.

This was just a formality match for the winners who have already made it to the next round in the league. But still, they had little mercy for the visitors who have lost both matches against St. Mary’s.

Exploit weaknesses

Kitisuru wanted to earn revenge for their 39-36 loss in the first meeting as the first two minutes of the game saw the scoreboard go blank with both teams trying to exploit the weaknesses and flaws of the other.

It was when Marvin Gitungo of St. Mary’s, who was the game’s top scorer with 26 points, broke the jinx with a successful lay-up, stopping all mind games.

Benson Kamau of Kitisuru combined talent and energy to make a quick reply with a fast drive that caught the opponents napping. He managed 18 points for his side.

“After losing our last game to Jaffery Academy, we were determined not to go the same route with Kitisuru.

“We wanted to collect maximum points from this match, which we did,” said St. Mary’s coach, David Waigwa.

Pace picked up

With a basket each, the game turned into a total war as the pace picked up.

Gitungo was called to duty as he ran the show for the hosts with his ball artistry. In the end of the first half, the 2004 Provincial champions, St. Mary’s were leading 17-7.

“It took us sometime before we found our form of play, but after settling down, we were at our best,” said Gitungo.

In the second quarter, the hosts - through Abraham Kimeu and Masuud Issa - came harsh on their opponents to relentlessly port baskets from three pointers, to brilliant lay ups that culminated from well calculated passes and daredevil drives. Kimeu had 24 points while

Issa added 11 more points.

A spirited combination of Gitungo, Issa and Ricky Muhoro, ensured that they won most of their balls in their court, made successful drives into the opponent’s territory and provided entertaining dummies in the process to seal the quarter 18-10.

Determined to spoil their opponent’s victory party, Kitisuru came out strongly in the third quarter, taking full control of the play.

They returned with vengeance in both unleashing baskets and holding back their rivals.

Joseph Musau and Cliff Gatonye of Kitisuru played a pivotal role in ensuring that they were back in contention.

With the aid of George Mwaniki, they grabbed 12 points, while their rivals managed only 10 in the low-scoring quarter.

Musau had 10 points, while both Gatonye and Mwaniki managed eight apiece for the visitors.

The last quarter saw the hosts assume the driving seat with Kimeu sinking three successive three-pointers within a span of five minutes. This helped in increasing the disparity, that enabled St. Mary’s add 33 to Kitisuru’s 16.

“I expected a much better game from my team. I’m disappointed with our inability to break the Saint’s defence.

“We will see where we went wrong but I must congratulate our opponents for their victory,” said Kitisuru’s coach, John Otieno.

St. Mary’s have now been grouped in a tough group that has five-time national champions, St. Austin’s, 2005 Provincial winners Aquinas High School and Eastleigh High School.

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