24 November 2014

KENYA : Basketball fans endorse playoffs

  • Basketball fans who turned out in large numbers as the Kenya Basketball Federation playoffs started were treated to a dominance by KAA over Co-Operative Bank at the Nyayo Stadium gymnasium. (SNA File
Basketball fans endorsed the Kenya Basketball Federation league playoffs which began over the weekend at the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium.
Twelve games were on the cards on Saturday and Sunday attracting huge crowds as compared to regular season. Their attendance was not in vain as teams displayed quality games.
The men's premier league encounters pitting Co-operative Bank against Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) versus Blades turned out to be the real crowd pullers.
With the crowds fully behind them, KAA dominated the champions from the onset and never surrendered the lead to win 67-59. They were the best team for the entire period scoring 17 free-throws against Co-op Bank’s nine and six three-point shots against the banker’s four.
The bankers had pointguard Salim Ali fouled out in the fourth quarter with five fouls, Frederick Odongo had four fouls while the entire team committed 22 fouls.
This was far worse than KAA who had Shem Otieno highest casualty with three fouls and accumulated 15 team fouls. Billy Ongute top-scored for KAA with 18 points while Allan Ouma scored 14 for the bankers.
Before the game, head coach Carey Odhiambo had said the absence of two key players Titus Musembi and David Ogolla who are serving a one year ban would affect his team’s push for the title defense.
KAA led 37-22 at halftime winning the first two quarters 16-8 and 21-14 respectively. Co-op Bank won the third 20-10 and KAA the fourth 20-17 with the second game on Saturday a must-win for the bankers.
KPA needed overtime to beat Blades 89-83 after the game tied 61-all in regulation time. Kooshin Diriye scored 16 points for KPA with Martin Kitonga and Ariel Okal adding a combined 30. Emmanuel Soja and Valentine Nyakinda top scored for Blades with 21 and 19 points respectively.
Enjoyed a three-points cushion
Ulinzi Warriors also has an upper hand going to the second game after defeating Lions 73-54. Ulinzi won the first quarter 19-15 and Lions the second 18-17 as the soldiers enjoyed a three points cushion at halftime.
It was Ulinzi’s game upon resumption as they won the remaining quarters 21-11 and 16-10. William Ochieng and Ancette Wafula scored highest for Ulinzi with 19 points each while Denis Opiyo had 12 for Lions.
The last quarterfinal game had United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) beat Strathmore University 59-35. Abel Nson scored 13 points for USIU-A and Hugh Ayara 12 for Strathmore. USIU-A won all quarters 13-8, 10-7, 17-2 and 19-18 respectively.
The women's premier league games were averagely low scoring. Defending champions KPA was the only high scoring team beating Ulinzi Blades 73-43. Yvonne Akinyi top scored for KPA and Bridgit Nanzala for Ulinzi with 12 points. The dockers won all quarters 21-6, 11-10, 21-11 and 20-16.
Sprite Storms will have an advantage over Eagle Wings after winning game one 39-34. Silalei Shani for Eagles and Angela Luchivya for Storms top-scored with 12 points each. Storms scored 15 of its points from the three-point line and eight from free-throws compared to Eagles who had only one three-point shot and scored five free-throws.
USIU-A beat Safe Spaces 47-34 helped by 13 points from Sarah Chan and 10 from Georgia Odhiambo. Safe Spaces’ top scorer was Jane Ouko with 10 points.
Co-op Bank will have the advantage over Strathmore University heading to game two after registering a 41-30 win on Sunday. The bankers started off poorly losing first quarter 6-9.  They had seven team fouls compared to Strathmore's one with Beatrice Achieng committing three and Grace Wanjiku two.
It was a dangerous balancing act for head coach Robert Mugabe in the remaining three quarters. “Strathmore is the best offensive rebounding team in the league and goes out at all cost to get the ball. Also, our boxing out was not good,” he explained.
Dominant in the second quarter
The bankers were dominant in the second quarter which hey won 13-0 for a 19-9 halftime lead. The second half was equally low scoring but highly competitive as Co-op Bank won the third quarter 12-10 and Strathmore the fourth 11-10. Celine Okumu scored 11 points for the bankers and Mollete Achieng had 14 for the students.
“The fact that we have won does not mean we will go there and rest. There is game two to come with a possibility of game three so its important we remain consistent,” Mugabe said.
In division one, Zetech University beat Trailblazers 62-51, Umoja beat Upper Hill 72-26, Dankind Academy won 73-47 against Lakeside while Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) registered a 62-45 win over World Hope.
KBF Playoffs Results
Men's Premier League: Ulinzi Warriors 73 Lions 54, Co-op Bank 59 KAA 67, USIU-A 59 Strathmore University 34, KPA 89 Blades 83.
Women's Premier League: USIU-A 47 Safe Spaces 34, KPA 73 Ulinzi Blades 43, Eagle Wings 34 Sprite Storms 39, Strathmore University 30 Co-op Bank 41.
Division One: Zetech University 62 Trailblazers 51, Umoja 72 Upper Hill 26, Lakeside 47 Dankind Academy 73, KCA-U 62 World Hope 45.

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