Laiser Hill finally secured their sixth basketball national title after edging out defending champions Upper Hill 51-43 in a thrilling final at State House Girls as the Kenya Secondary Schools Sports Association National Term One Games ended on Saturday.
The win was sweet for the Kajiado-based school who had continued playing second fiddle to Upper Hill.
Since beating them in the 2012 finals, Upper Hill have always found a way of beating Laiser Hill everytime they meet.
For the last four meetings the two teams have clashed since the 2012 national finals and Upper Hill always carried the day.
On Saturday, they rallied to win.
The match which was watched by close to 1200 spectators started on a low gear. Upper Hill capitalized on the errors from their opponents to take a 12-4 lead in the first quarter.
The second quarter saw Laiser Hill restrict their opponents to only five points as they scored 14 points in the quarter and thus take half a basket lead of 18-17.
The third quarter saw the two sides swings into a different tactics with both teams raiding their opponents boards regularly.
Laiser Hill were however more superior in the quarter by converting most of the chances to take the lead of 33-29 at the end of the third quarter.
The final quarter shifted to Upper Hill’s favour as they consistently scored to take the lead.
Home and dry
They appeared home and dry as they led 39-36 with less than three minutes left before the match shifted into Laiser Hills’ favour.
A double-three pointer from Laiser Hill point guard Elvis Ssentongo in the space of a minute swung the pendulum in Laiser Hill’s advantage as they took a 42- 39 lead with two minutes left.
Upper Hill then hit back as guard Aneng Deng race clear to sink two points to bring Upper Hill to within a point of Laiser.
Deng had the chance to win it for Upper Hill but only scored one of the two free throws he was awarded to leave the scores level.
Ssentongo sunk another three pointer and Laiser would go on to complete a remarkable comeback and reclaim the title .
The final whistle drew wild celebrations from Laiser Hill players and their fans but for Upper Hill it was heartbreak as their reign on the title was brought to a halt.
“We let the match slip away from us. We made all that comeback and were on the verge of retaining the title but we slacked a bit and they capitalized on that and punished us,” Upper Hill captain Deng Garang said.
Winning captain Sheldon Ouma said the win was good as it ended their long losing streak to Upper Hill.
“We have lost to them for several years and it feels nice to finally get one over them. It was a tight match and all teams gave everything but I think we wanted it more and that eventually allowed us to come back and win,” Ouma said.
Kaya Tiwi retain girl's basketball title
Kaya Tiwi retained their girls' title after they edged out St. Brigids Kiminini 48-35 in the final to clinch their second successive national title.
They recovered from a slow start to edge out St. Brigid’s, who were playing in their second since appearing in the final in 2015.
Beryl Aoko and Christine Aoko top-scored for Tiwi with 10 points each while Clara Rotich was St Brigid’s lead scorer with eight.
In the place playoffs, Tigoi beat Buruburu 47-33 to grab the girls’ last ticket to the East Africa games while Kisumu Boys dismissed Nyeri Baptist 69-46 to finish third in the boys event.
In hockey St.Cecilia Misikhu beat St.Joseph’s Kitale 2-0 to reclaim the girls' hockey title. Agnes Machuma gave Misikhu the lead in the seventh minute before Nafula made it 2-0 six minutes into the second half.
In the boys' hockey final, Upper Hill’s second half comeback was not enough to stop St. Anthony's Boys from winning another title.
After going down 3-0 in 37 minutes, Upper Hill scored two goals inside two minutes to narrow the lead to 3-2 with 10 minutes to play but a disciplined defense from St. Anthony's Boys ensured that Upper Hill also failed to win the hockey title.
Brian Ogende had put his side 2-0 up after 19 minutes with a brace. Wycliffe Simiyu made it 3-0 with a third goal two minutes into the second half.
Ian Miruki and Eugene Onyango pulled two back for Upper Hill in the 58th and 60th minutes.
In rugby, Kakamega High School beat Laiser Hill 18-14 to win the 15s rugby for the first time since 2013.
Kakamega scored two tries, a conversion and two penalties to Laiser Hill’s two converted tries as they avenged their 10-8 loss in the preliminary stages of the event..
Kakamega, led 15-7 at halftime
Boys' Basketball: Final - Laiser Hill 51 Upper Hill 43; Play Offs: Kisumu Boys 69 Nyeri Baptist 46.
Girls' Basketball: Final - Kaya Tiwi 48 St. Brigids 35; Play Offs: Tigoi 47 Buruburu Girls 33.
Girls Hockey: Final - St. Cecilia Misikhu 2 St. Joseph Kitale 0; Play Offs: Sinyolo Girls 3 Moi Nairobi Girls 0.
Boys Hockey: Final - St. Anthony's Boys 3 Upper Hill 2; Play Offs: Kisumu Day 2 Dr. Riberio 0.
Rugby Final - Kakamega 18 Laiser Hill 14; Play offs: Upper Hill 12 St. Marys Yala 3.