Big miss for Kenya in basketball title race as Kaya Tiwi fall to Kitende


Big miss for Kenya in basketball title race as Kaya Tiwi fall to Kitende
Kaya Tiwi power forward Yvonne Atieno wins a rebound during their East African Secondary School Games semi-final match against St Mary's Kitende in Musanze, Rwanda. (PHOTO/Matthews Mutai/Citizen)

In Summary

  • The girls’ basketball final at the East Africa Secondary School Games will feature an all-Ugandan affair after Buddo and St Mary’s Kitende held off their semi-final opponents on Friday in Musanze, Rwanda.
  • Kitende survived a late onslaught from Kenyan champions Kaya Tiwi to win 69-67 to join their compatriots and holders Buddo who outclassed hosts St Bernadette 76-39 in the other last four clash.
  • Penetrating the tall Kenyan defence was always going to be difficult for the Ugandans who resorted to range shooting but their three-pointers kept spluttering out and wide.

 

Matthews Mutai in Musanze, Rwanda

The girls’ basketball final at the East Africa Secondary School Games will feature an all-Ugandan affair after Buddo and St Mary’s Kitende held off their semi-final opponents on Friday in Musanze, Rwanda.

Kitende survived a late onslaught from Kenyan champions Kaya Tiwi to win 69-67 to join their compatriots and holders Buddo who outclassed hosts St Bernadette 76-39 in the other last four clash.

Point guard Viola Namale led the scoring for Kitende with 19 points with Diana Tekitendwa adding 15 more as the Ugandan champions inched closer toward reclaiming the regional title they last won three years ago.

“The girls have played well and we’re happy. Kaya Tiwi is a good team – they’re aggressive but we gave it our all and the end of the day the better team has won.

“Kaya Tiwi were aggressive so we told our girls to use their brains; to just pass the ball around and avoid too much dribbling. We’re proud that at last Uganda is taking over basketball in East Africa.

“We will meet Buddo SS in the final whom we beat back at home and hopefully we can beat them again in the final,” coach Chris Kijjambu told Citizen Digital post-match.

Kaya Tiwi looked uncharacteristically sluggish in the opening quarter as they fell back 23-17 before finding an extra gear to take the second 15-17 to leave Kitende 38-34 at half-time.

Post players Akoth Julian and Theresa Othuon combined for a total 17 points to lead Kaya Tiwi’s second half charge but their effort proved little too late as Kitende capitalized on a couple few more turnovers to retain their lead.

Three-time Kenyan winners Kaya Tiwi were hampered by some sloppy pieces of play, giving away numerous turnovers but their opponents failed to extend their lead thanks to some ineffective shooting.

Kaya Tiwi head coach Philip Onyango launched a passionate defence of his ‘young’ side, citing inexperience for the loss that ensured their three-year wait for a regional title will roll on until at least next year.

“We have a very young team because we study from Form One to Form Four. We’re basically playing against university students and for me it’s a total mismatch. I’d like to urge my girls to keep fighting but minimize on mistakes.

“If you look at it carefully we were hit on turnovers. There is no time Kitende scored because they worked on a play; they just kept stealing the ball from us and going all the way. For this my girls need to be patient and value possession,” Onyango said.

Penetrating the tall Kenyan defence was always going to be difficult for the Ugandans who resorted to range shooting but their three-pointers kept spluttering out and wide.

With the time ticking away and victory almost assured, Kitende started running down the clock to reach the final and leave Kaya Tiwi on a bronze mission.

Girls’ basketball semis results

Buddo SS (UG) 76-39 St Bernadette (RW)

SMASK (UG) 69-67 Kaya Tiwi (KE)

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Story By Matthews Mutai
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