By PHILIP ONYANGO
Shimba Hills Secondary, the national schools girls’ basketball champions, continues to attract top American basketball coaches.
Oklahoma Baptist University women’s basketball coaches John Marcum and John McCullough will be visiting the school to help them prepare for the East Africa Games scheduled for August in Fort Portal, Uganda.
The visit by the coaches of the former National Athletics Intercollegiate Association champions comes on the heels of a similar one by Union University women’s basketball coach Katie Woodruff a fortnight ago.
She stayed for seven days. The Union team, which has four Kenyans in their team, are the reigning NAIA champions. McCullough arrives in Mombasa on August 15 and will be coaching the team until August 22 when he flies back to the US.
Marcum, the university’s head coach, is expected on August 23 and will accompany the girls to the East African games. The coaches will also conduct coaching clinics with players from all over the country, whom they intend to recruit for scholarships at the university.
“We have been developing interest in the players from Mombasa after the success of Union University, whose real strength in the front court was Josephine Owino, Beatrice Awino Oyenje, Miriam Wandanda and Mildred Olumasim, all of who developed their skills in Mombasa,” McCullough said.
The coach said he will however give a chance to potential players from other parts of Kenya if they meet the university’s standards. McCullough said he was targeting at least three players from Shimba Hills to beef up his squad ahead of the NAIA games in September.
In June, Woodfruff identified Shimba Hills’ international Purity Odhiambo for the Union team after she finishes school later this year.
In a Coast league match at the weekend, Shimba Hills hammered Kisauni Queens 98-29, even without Odhiambo, who is in Uganda with Rwandan Patriotic Army (APR) team for the Fiba Zone Five club championships.
Newcomers Ziporah Khasoa, Risper Anyango, Mildred Nekesa and Mwijabu Mwidadi took over the mantle, running rings around their opponents to score with abandon.
Earlier, Shimba Hills, who remain second in the league with eight points, one less than Rollers Babes who have a match in hand, defeated Kiembeni 62-15. Rollers Babes beat Kiembeni 44-22 to remain at the top of the table with eight points.Makupa Lakers regained the top men’s spot when they defeated Oceaners 50-29 to tie with Changamwe Rollers with 10 points each after Rollers beat Maweni 54-38.
Shimba Boys maintained their unbeaten run after defeating Maweni 62-39 while Mombasa Polytechnic beat Makande Rebels 45-37.
Lakers top the men’s league with ten points from five matches followed by Changamwe Rollers who are placed second with similar points from seven matches. Mombasa Baptist, who had a free weekend, occupy the third slot with nine points from six matches.
Mombasa Poly are fourth with nine points from five matches, followed by Kiembeni Heats (7,4) and Makande Rebels (7,6).
Rollers Babes lead the girls with nine points from five matches, followed by Shimba Hills with eight points from four matches, Baptist (4,3), Kisauni Queens (4,3) and Changamwe Secondary (3,3).