Lynette Matheka @PeopleSport11
In a scintillating match that left basketball fans yearning for more of such clashes, Thunder downed Equity Bank to take a 1-0 lead in the Kenya Basketball Federation (KBF) men’s quarter-finals played at Nyayo Stadium.
Thunder were the better side in the first quarter of the match as they assumed the lead early and went on to win by six points in a 17-11 outcome. Equity, however, turned the tables in the second quarter to score a period high 22 points while their opponents managed 16 for the match to head to the breather on a 33-33 tie.
On resumption, the two sides exchanged the leads and the match was headed for another stalemate. With less than a minute to play, Equity missed a free throw that would have equalled the score at 47. The resulting rebound bore a three-point score for Thunder through Nathan Terry will just one second to the buzzer for the Bankers to trail by two baskets.
The Carey Odhiambo coached bankers were, however, outplayed in the final quarter in a 20-13 outcome that handed Thunder the crucial win at 70-59.
“My players did not go the extra mile in trying to win the match. We were largely unsettled and the tension had us losing easy points. However, the team is a work in progress and experience played a big part in the loss. We only converted 30 per cent of our free throws, for instance, and often had easy shots not dropping. We have to rectify these mistakes for Game Two if we are to fight for a last four chance,” said Odhiambo.
In other matches, defending champions Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) men and women picked easy wins against United States International University- Africa (USIU-A) and Kenyatta University Oryx at 69-55 and 60-33 respectively to set one foot in the last four ahead of Game Two fixtures at home.
KPA men had a good first half scoring 13-9 and 25-12 in the half. The 17 point lead saved the holders from the embarrassment of losing to minnows as they struggled in the second half. The third quarter went to USIU in a 20-16 outcome. The students then pressed the Dockers hard for a half a basket loss in the final quarter in a 16-15 outcome.
In the women’s encounter, couch Antony Ojukwu although thankful for the win feels that his team is yet to gel for a perfect performance.
“I am happy with how we performed. However, losing more than five players in one season can never be easy on any team and for now we are managing with fewer players and some are still learning. However, we will fight in each match together, win or lose,” said Ojukwu.