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Last season’s quarter-finalists begin title hunt

Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) league entered its second round this weekend with scintillating performances on display at the United States International University of Africa basketball courts as teams raced for early points.

Last season’s play-off quarter finalists Umoja men began their title hunt with a hard-fought 58-51 win against Thunder.

The first quarter of the match ended 19-13 in favour of Umoja but Thunder came back stronger in the second to close the gap, scoring 14 points to close the gap and ensure the match goes to the breather in a 27-point draw.

Thunder’s hunger for points grew as the match wore on and this was evidenced in the third quarter where they dominated to post 18 points.

However, Thunder were unable to hold on to their seven-point lead as Umoja mounted a spirited comeback in the last quarter, denying their opponents scoring chances as they went on to score 20 points. Thunder managed six points in the last quarter, handing Umoja the win.

“We had a game plan to run down our opponents offensively and cut down their scorers defensively and it worked. We also chose to stick to our younger players as they have the pace and can easily deny our opponents scoring chances and I am happy we won,” said coach Steve Kuto.

Umoja retained their core team from last season, making only two signings for the new campaign but coach Kuto still decried the absence of three of his players who are out with injury despite the victory.

“We have key players who are injured and their return will give us the depth we need for the season. Kevin Sunguti and Gilbert Obiero are expected back next month and next week respectively,” the coach added.

In another match, Equity Bank men, under new tactician Carey Odhiambo,  played to an easy 60-35 win over Trailblazers. The bankers outscored their opponents in all four quarters posting 14-8, 16-10, 11-9 and 19-8 scorelines.

In women’s matches, Storms struggled to beat Kenyatta University’s Oryx by half a basket in a match that had to be decided in extra time after a 39-all draw in regulation time.

Storms led 24-14 in the first half and extended their lead to 32-21 in the third quarter. However, Oryx scored 18 points in the last quarter, holding Storms to seven points for the draw. Oryx lost it in extra time after their opponents defended a 5-4 lead for the win. In another match, Eagle Wings defeated promoted side Footprints 54-44.

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