Dar es Salaam. When Jeshi Stars marched on to three straight wins in the Zone V Basketball Championship, it gave Tanzanians hopes of celebrating the coveted trophy this year.But as it turned out, the hopes were false after the Tanzanian girls tumbled 69-51 at the hands of KPA of Kenya in the first semi-final at the National Indoor Stadium yesterday.
Jeshi Stars trio of Doritha Mbunda, Nipael Kessy and Faraja Malaki huffed and puffed to save their side from losing, but their points could not prevent the Kenyans from romping into the final.
KPA proved that their Thursday’s 63-37 victory over Jeshi Stars was not a fluke after putting up a decent performance to end the home team’s title dream.
Jeshi Stars started the game briskly and dictated the early proceedings, leaving KPA players chasing shadows.
Cheered by home fans, Jeshi Stars took a deserved 23-12 lead in the first quarter, which served as a wake up call for the towering Kenyans.
The second quarter saw KPA come a much stronger side and rallied to score 28-10. Jeshi Stars were completely run ragged.
Until the halftime break, KPA, who are now the strong favourites for the title, were leading 40-33.Hoping to overturn the score in the third quarter, Jeshi Stars looked brighter with intricate passing, but increasingly lost steam as the game wore on and KPA took advantage to consolidate their lead to 56-42.
The Kenyans, who never looked short of ideas throughout the match, sealed their final ticket in the fourth quarter after burying 12 baskets while Jeshi Stars managed nine only.
Malaki and Kessy scored 1 4 points apiece, the lowest for the duo since the start of the event while KPA’s Joyce Makungu notched 15 points followed by her teammate Mwajuma Suleiman with 13 points.
KPA will on today play Berko Stars of Burundi who sprung a surprise by beating favourites Uganda‘s KCC 65-61 at the same venue.