11 April 2009
KENYA : Basketball old foes face off
By Oscar Pilipili
Champions Laiser Hill of Rift Valley meet Friends School Kamusinga of Western in the final of boys’ basketball at the Brookside Kenya Secondary Schools Term One Games.
The finalists advanced after shrugging off stiff opposition from semi-final opponents at Kangaru School, Embu, on Friday.
Laiser edged out traditional rivals, Maseno of Nyanza, 58-51 in a tightly-contested match to remain on course to retaining the trophy they clinched at Mang’u High last year.
Aristide Mugage of Laiser scored game-high 21 points, while Samuel Odera, who managed 10 points, was the highest scorer in the Maseno line-up.
The match that was a repeat of last year’s final saw Laiser take a half a basketball lead, 9-8, at the end of the first quarter.
Playing before an ecstatic crowd, Laiser maintained the tempo to stretch the lead to eight points after the second quarter.
Laiser appeared to have sealed the match when they opened an 11-point gap at the end of the third quarter, but Maseno, in a late onslaught, managed to cut the lead to seven points.
Maseno coach, Paul Otula, who is also chairman of Kenya Basketball Federation, conceded defeat, saying they had lost to a better team."It is difficult to say we’ve lost, but we did so to a better team," said Otula.
Laiser coach Anthony Kirimi described the match as tough."Definitely you’ll agree with me that the match was very tough and could have gone either way," he said.
"It is easier to win but defending that trophy is not that easy," he said. Laiser beat Maseno by a half a basket in last year’s final.
Kamusinga edged out Nairobi champion, St Austin’s Academy, 79-74 in a tense semi-final to qualify for the final that will be played today.