M: Riham Warriors 97-92 City Oilers
W: UCU Lady Canons 57-55 KCCA Leopards
For the first time in nearly two weeks hundreds fans witnessed first-hand a National Basketball League game played at YMCA. Defending champions and Zone V second runners-up City Oilers took on 2012 league champions Riham Warriors on Friday night.
Conventional wisdom pointed to the City Oilers as favourites in this game, but the Warriors had proven themselves that they will be a handful in the second half of the regular season. For over one and a half hours, two of the biggest teams in the country, Riham Warriors and City Oilers tussled it out in the biggest game of the second round – so far.
Warriors came from a double digit halftime to edge Oilers 97-92. Thanks to biggest second half performance of the season from any team. Warriors scored 65 points points in the last two quarters during the the come back and led for the first time in the fourth quarter (73-71) on Steven Okias 3-point play which Kami Kabange quickly closed from the line but Warriors never trailed again.
“Its is the experience of the guys on the team. We kept heads up and had the mental strength (during that period) to keep pushing” Ronnie Kasewu, who netted game high 25 points said after the game.
“Those guys started big, our shots were not falling at first and we were not making defensive stops. Some times you expect that when you are playing a strong team. It’s a sea-saw and whoever has the mental strength gets the edge” he added.
City Oilers coach, Mandy Juruni wasn't disappointed with his team’s performance despite the loss. “It was just that our energy dropped as the game went on” he said. “At the same time Warriors stepped up, they played tough defense, physical and a running game and our guys got physically and mentally tired” Juruni told Kawowo SportsEven when he was double teamed most of the second half, Kami Kabange scored team high 23 points for City Oilers who dropped a game for the first time since the season opening day. Ben Komakech added 22 points on a night he seemed not to be attempting enough. “I think these guys played well under the circumstances” Juruni said on the pair. Jimmy Enabu and Andrew Opio contributed 14 and 12 points respectively for the defending champions.
Steven Okiasi and Ivan Enabu scored 15 points each for Warriors (9-5), Henry Malinga contributed 14 points, Mark Opio had 12 points and Javan Odhiambo chipped in with 11.
Meanwhile, UCU Lady Canons held on to defeat KCCA Leopards who missed two attempts to push the game to overtime, 57-55 on Vilma Achieng’s 19 points. Purity Odhiambo added 14 points for the Lady Canons. Claire Lamunu the only KCCA player to reach double figures scored game high 20 points.