01 December 2014

KENYA : Action-packed playoffs defy leaking roof at Nyayo Gymnasium

  • Coop Bank Celia Auma in action against Starthmore Barkita Awour in their premier league match at Nyayo National Stadium.(Photo by Shutterspeed)
It was an action-packed weekend in the Kenya Basketball Federation league playoffs as six teams confirmed their semifinal places in the men and women premier leagues.
The mood was, however, temporarily halted after the Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium roof leaked in water following a heavy downpour.
The court became wet occasioning a stoppage of about an hour during the Strathmore University versus United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) men premier tie.
The eventuality seemed to have worked in Strathmore's favour who were trailing 32-42 at the time of stoppage in the third quarter and seemed off balance.
They returned stronger pushing back USIU-A and temporarily led inside the fourth quarter. They lost the game 60-62 and USIU-A makes it to the semifinals for a third season in a row with a 2-0 series win.
Game brawl  
The game was not without drama as players from both sides turned physical at the blow of final whistle but the situation was quickly contained. Joseph Ongoro was the standout player for Strathmore top scoring with 13 points while Hugh Ayara added 12.
Kevin Kigotho scored 11 points for USIU-A while Abel Nson and Yoni Wanambiro added 9 each.
They will play Ulinzi Warriors in the last four after eliminating Lions with two games.
On Saturday, Ulinzi won 59-53 in game two which was equally competitive.
Defending champions Co-operative Bank exhibited experience to get past a stubborn Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) 2-1.
KAA had won game one 67-59 but the bankers leveled on Saturday with a 67-55 win.
On Sunday, they played under a highly partisan and hostile crowd that rallied support behind KAA.
Co-op down KAA 
Co-op Bank banked on their strong finishing kick to win 53-44 after trailing their opponent for long periods including 16-26 at halftime.
They started well with a slim 12-11 first quarter win but KAA came out stronger in the second winning 15-4.
The third quarter saw Co-op Bank win 17-12 and finally showed dominance in the fourth with a 20-6 score.
They will play Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in the semifinals after the dockers eliminated Blades 2-0 following Saturday’s 74-70 win. In women premier, Strathmore University bowed out honourably after stretching Co-operative Bank to the limit.
They came to the weekend action trailing by a game but managed to level the series on Saturday with a 61-54 win. Game three on Sunday was meant to be a real fight and it lived up to that. Both teams tied 47-all in regulation time with the bankers taking the series in overtime with a 12-6 win.
The lead changed hands in this game for six times and was tied for seven times. It was just a bad day in office for Strathmore who were superior on paper.
They conceded 20 turnovers against Co-op Bank’s 24 from where they had 16 points against Co-op Bank’s 9.
The students had 10 points from fast breaks against 2 for the bankers and committed 22 personal fouls against Co-op Bank’s 28.
Strathmore won many rebounds at 45 compared to the bankers’ 30 but had 7 assists against 10 for their opponent.
From the 3-point line, Strathmore made 18 attempts scoring three while Co-op Bank had 10 attempts and scored only once.
Strathmore had 35 attempts from the free-throw line scoring 18 while Co-op Bank attempted 33 times and scored 20. Co-op Bank had the bench power scoring 14 points from the bench against Strathmore's 8.
Susan Abwoga top scored for Strathmore with 16 points and had Pauline Oketch and Mollete Achieng fouled out on five fouls.
Selina Okumu was Co-op Bank’s top scorer with 15 points. Sprite Storms also made it to the semifinals with a 2-0 series win over Eagle Wings.
They completed the double on Saturday beating Eagles 35-29 after trailing 11-18 at halftime.
Linet Mukiri scored four 3-point shots to top score for Storms with 12 points while Eunice Ouma scored 10 points for Eagles.
In division one, three teams are through to the semifinals with a 2-0 series win. Umoja beat Upper Hill 57-44 in game two, Kenya College of Accountancy- University (KCA-U) won 61-56 against World Hope while Zetech University needed overtime to see off Trailblazers 68-64 after a 50-all tie in normal time.
Weekend results: Saturday- Lions 53 Ulinzi Warriors 59, KAA 55 Co-op Bank 67, Sprite Storms 35 Eagle Wings 29, World Hope 56 KCA-U 61, Upper Hill 22 Umoja 57, Co-op Bank 54 Strathmore Swords 61; Sunday- Strathmore Swords 53 Co-op Bank 59, Strathmore University 60 USIU Tigers 62, Trailblazers 64 Zetech University 68, Co-op Bank 53 KAA 44.

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