Lynette Matheka in Dar es Salaam
Equity Bank Hawks came from 11 points down in the first quarter to register their second win at 70-46 against APR of Rwanda at the ongoing FIBA Zone Five basketball championship at the Tanzania National Stadium Indoor Arena.
The win inches the bankers closer to the title in the six-team women competition. where they, alongside Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) remain unbeaten.
KPA led 5-4 in the first five minutes of the match but ailed to hold it together allowing APR to catch up and go on to win the quarter 22-11. Equity reduced the gap in the second quarter, trailing by six points after the first five minutes of play. They went on to catch up as the match headed to the breather with the Kenyans holding a three-point advantage.
The second half went the bankers’ way as they won 17-3 and 22-15 for the win.
“The match was tough. We had not played APR before and we were making adjustments on the go. They are a very good team but we overwhelmed them with our defence. Our offence in the opening round was erratic but after settling down and mastering APR’s positioning we got back to the game,” said Equity’s assistant coach Carey Odhiambo.
He further explains that playing against a side whose big men are good at three pointers forced them to change from playing a zonal match to prevent them from picking more points from such throws. One player Charlot Umugwaneza proved to be a thorn in Equity’s flesh as she scored 12 points in the match, six from three points scored in the first quarter.
“It was a hard fought win but we shift our focus to the remaining three matches. We play Tanzania next and then Wolkite before facing off with KPA and anything could happen despite any of the teams’ display so far. We are taking it one match at a time,” said Odhiambo.
On their part, KPA women continued their good run in the championship extending their winning streak to three matches after a 91-23 (27-4, 24-8, 16-6, 24-5) thrashing of Welkite. Mercy Wanyama and Brigid Nyongesa combined for 34 points, 20 and 14 respectively for the final tally.
The Kenya Basketball Federation and Zone Five defending champions have a date with Uganda Christian University (UCU) on Saturday before culminating their title defence campaign against local nemesis Equity.