BOTSWANA : Troopers win basketball tourney

Gaborone-based Troopers won the mid-season basketball tournament held at the University of Botswana (UB) courts over the weekend after thrashing BDF V 84-67 in the final. Troopers advanced to the final after trouncing Spartans 62-41 while BDF V beat Flames 67-58.

In the final both sides showed determination from the start, launching attacks and counter-attacks as the game swung from end to end.
But it was Troopers that had the upper hand over their army opponents, ending the first quarter with a 22-20 lead. The slippery Troopers' duo of Gaamangwe Lasaro and Mothusi Phokoje terrorised BDF V as they repeatedly scored with ease.

BDF V piled pressure at the start of the second quarter and almost levelled matters through the outstanding albeit pint-sized forward, Bashi Jerry. The skilful Jerry easily penetrated the Troopers point guards and made a lot of assists and scores.

With BDF players starting to show signs of fatigue, Troopers took advantage and extended the lead once again as Michael Banda easily beat the guards on breaks to score beautiful dunks. Both teams introduced new players in the third quarter, but Troopers continued its dominance and led 69-45. The game got rough in the last quarter with BDF players getting cautions. Troopers resisted attempts by their opponents to recover through good zonal marking. This frustrated BDF and made them to commit unnecessary blunders that were fully punished by Troopers via free throws. Troopers substitute Raymond Madzudzu added spark to the attack, scoring two quick three points and a dunk during the last seconds of the game.

Troopers' coach Pitso Mbaki said after the final that they are back to their winning ways and they are ready for the second round of the league. "We are back to our usual form and we want to stamp our authority during the second round. Even though my players have not reached their highest fitness level, they did well and the new signings also impressed," he said.

Tournament organiser, Mothusi Thipe said the event was a success and kept players active ahead of the start of the second round of the league on August 22. "Despite some teams not turning up, the tournament went very well and I also thank our sponsors who made it possible," he said. Thipe noted that the level of basketball in the country has improved significantly over the years. AKTIV Sports and USN sponsored the event.

Meanwhile, BDF V narrowly beat Relics 26-25 in a closely contested women's final. Fifteen clubs participated in the tournament.