Mombasa City Sharks dim Juba Bright Stars

By francis marangu
Jun 12, 2017
  • Zaddock Odhiambo of Mombasa City Sharks shields the ball from Juba's Gabriel Gop. (Photo by Shutterspeed) mombasa City Sharks shields the ball from Juba's Gabriel Gop. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Griffin Ligare navigates his way pas Stephano Msimu of Dar es Salaam Dream Team. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Solomon Aswan's way is blocked by Juba's Mom Majak. Aswani and his Mombasa City Sharks team replaced Kigali City and trained for only four days. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Late entrants Mombasa City Sharks proved a strong point on Sunday after rallying from 18 points down  to beat Juba Bright Stars 69-66 as the City Challenge basketball tournament got off to a promising start.

Mombasa replaced Kigali City and trained for only four days before the tournament.

In the second quarter of the game, Juba were up 33-15 after four minutes. But, it was the introduction of Gerry Wekesa who sat out the entire first quarter that tightened the screws for the coastal side.

Wekesa who plays for Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) re-energized their offensive play. He scored nine points in the quarter as they narrowed the gap to 10 points at halftime.

The first quarter went to Juba 22-11. Leek Manual scored the first point of the tournament from the free-throw line after Patrick Karuku was penalized for a blocking foul in the second minute.

Mombasa led 2-1 and Juba 3-2. Mombasa went up again 4-3 before Athiey Deng formerly of KPA sunk a three-pointer to give Juba a 6-4 lead. Zadock Odhiambo tied the scores 9-9 with a three-pointer.

They led 11-9 before Juba tied 11-11 and went up 13-11 when Bhol Nhial made a crowd-pulling dunk. Mombasa won the second quarter 19-18 and were guilty of poor passing on many instances gifting Juba possession from turnovers.

Juba made good use of their height to dominate the rim and were brilliant when dribbling.

Mombasa claimed the third quarter 19-15 with Karuku scoring a basket with 1:29 on the clock to tie scores 49-49. Juba finished the quarter with a six-point cushion after Edward Baku and Manual made a three-pointer each.

Highlight moments

In one of the highlight moments of the quarter, Wekesa made a steal before turning his opponent inside-out and sunk a basket from a tight angle to the delight of fans.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Samuel Ocholla who turns out for KPA scored six straight points to tie scores 55-55. Athiey broke the tie with a basket for Juba but Co-op Bank guard Salim Ali buried a three-pointer to give Mombasa a 58-57 lead.

They went on to dominate and opened an eight-point lead of 65-57. Juba clawed back slowly and were trailing by three points with 47 seconds remaining.

Mombasa then called for a tactical timeout but conceded a turnover after resumption. With possession on their side and seconds remaining, Juba attempted thrice from the three-point line to force overtime play but were unsuccessful.

Mombasa won the quarter 20-11. Joshua Wanyama, Mombasa’s head coach admitted they are the underdogs despite pulling the surprise win.

“We trained for only four days and most of my players play for local clubs in Mombasa. They have never had the opportunity to play at this level and the exposure they are getting is good,” he told Sports News Arena.

“But, I must appreciate we have experienced players like Ali, Joseph Ouma and Ocholla who helped us a lot in the win,” the coach added.

Wanyama admitted his players suffereda  stage fright that resulted in a poor first half. “I realized they lacked self confidence. As a coach, I had to encourage them and that is how we won by making them believe we could win.”

Mombasa will play Mogadishu City on Monday night at 8 p.m. Nine players representing Mogadishu play in Canada and USA but Wanyama says they are not scared of facing them. “I have told my players not to fear or underrate any team.”

Wekesa and Ocholla scored 14 points each for Mombasa while Manual top-scored for Juba with 19 points.

Juba scored 27 points from the three-point line against 12 for Mombasa.

Morans edge out Dar Dream Team

Nairobi Morans, the second Kenyan team beat Dar es Salaam Dream Team 87-71. Nairobi appeared to be going for an easy win when they won the first quarter 16-9 after dominating for the entire period.

However, Dar es Salaam came into the second quarter with more vigour and won 23-14 to lead 32-30 at halftime.

Cornel Joseph scored eight points to lead the fight by the Tanzanian side. Nairobi had gone up by 10 points at 23-13 but Dar es Salaam took a 27-26 lead with 2:10 on the clock from a three-pointer by Evans Davies.

Griffin Ligare gave Nairobi the lead 28-27 with 1:10 remaining before Denis Chibula sunk a three-pointer for Dar es Salaam to lead 30-28. Ligare tied 30-30 after making two of the possible three free shots. He had been fouled by Davies with 28 seconds remaining as he attempted a three-pointer.

Chibula then made two free shots to close the quarter in favour of Dar es Salaam.

At the start of the third quarter, Victor Odendo made a three-pointer for Nairobi to lead 33-32 but the Tanzanians tied 33-33 with a free shot.

Ramadhan Arou sunk a basket for Nairobi to break the deadlock and they went on to claim the quarter 32-19.

Nairobi opened the biggest lead of 19 points in the fourth quarter at 80-61 and won 25-20.

Ligare scored 16 points for Nairobi while Brayan Muramba scored 20 for Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian side scored 30 points from the three-point line against Nairobi’s 15.

On Monday, Dar es Salaam will play Kampala Red Stars at 6 p.m.