Kenya Commercial Bank Lions have an advantage over defending champions Co-operative Bank ahead of the second semifinal match of the Kenya Basketball Federation league playoffs after scraping out a 67-59 win on Sunday.
This was the first match in their best-of-three semifinal play and if KCB win their second match next weekend then they will earn a direct qualification to the final.
However, both teams will have to go for a third match to determine the winner in case Co-op bank turn the tables and win the second tie.
The match started off slowly but gradually gained momentum with KCB firing the warning shot with a 18-8 win in the first quarter.
Co-op Bank gained their fighting spirit to carry home the second quarter 15-13 for a 31-23 halftime lead in favour of KCB. The third quarter was highly competitive as KCB turned on the heat to win 19-17 while Co-op Bank won the final quarter in a similar margin.
Ancette Wafula top scored for KCB with 23 points while Tony Abondo hit 18 for Co-op Bank.
Eagle Wings Ease Past KPA Ladies
Defending champions Eagle Wings came face to face with their first major test of the season when they struggled to get past a resilient Kenya Ports Authority, KPA, before winning 56-49.
The Mombasa based side will carry a big advantage to the second and possibly the third fixtures as they will be playing at home.
Samba Mjomba had 21 points for Wings while Millicent Anyango top scored for KPA with 15 points.
United States International University- Africa,USIU-A, ladies team was also on the winning end after outclassing Co-operative Bank 69-55 in their first semi final encounter.
The students won all the quarters 15-12, 19-16, 19-17 and 16-10 respectively to put one foot into the finals. Hilda Indasi was again on top of her game hitting 19 points for USIU-A whereas Celia Asila had 15 for the bankers.
Upperhill inch closer to top flight action
In Division One, Upper Hill inched closer to making history as the first high school to play in the top flight basketball league with a deserving 72-63 win over Nakuru Club.
They will only need any kind of a win in their second match to book a slot in the finals. The other semifinal saw Nairobi Aviation College overcome Kenya Airports Authority, KAA, by a slim 74-72 win.
Aviation was the superior of the two sides as they featured two player-coaches in Radhi Ndalu and Ben Oluoch which made them unstoppable.
The first quarter went to Aviation 21-20 the same as the second 17-14. Upon resumption, KAA laboured to a 21-14 win in the third quarter but Aviation run away with the final quarter winning 22-17.
Job Byron was Aviation’s hero notching 18 points with Oluoch and Ssozi Geoffrey scoring 16 each. Billy Ongute top scored for KAA with 19 points.
In classification matches, Strathmore University beat Thunder 43-36 after enjoying a 28-17 halftime lead. Clifton Odhiambo had 7 points for the students while Sammy Kirya scored 13 for Thunder.
The varsity’s ladies team was unlucky going down 31-22 to Sprite Storms after trailing 11-8 at the breather. Denise Apondi scored 5 points for Strathmore with Storms’ top scorer being Suzane Akinyi with 18.
Parklands Baptist beat Umoja 20-0 after being handed a walkover the same case as NYTA-Shimba over Western Delight who failed to show up. Kenya College of Accountancy- University, KCA-U, beat Kenyatta University Pirates 66-63 in another classification match played over the weekend.
Collated Results: Saturday- Eagle Wings 56 KPA 49, Upper Hill 72 Nakuru Club 63,KCA-U 66 KU Pirates 63, NYTA 20 Western Delight 0 Sunday- Parklands Baptist 20 Umoja 0, Strathmore University 43 Thunder 36, Strathmore University 22 Storms 31, Nairobi Aviation 74 KAA 72, USIU 69 Co-op Bank 55, KCB 57 Co-op Bank 59.