KENYA : Champs KCB Lions and Co-op Bank cruise to easy wins in semi final openers

National champions KCB Lions and bitter rivals Co-operative Bank of Kenya posted unexpectedly easy wins as the play off semi final matches got off at Nyayo National Stadium gymnasium over the weekend.

Lions thrashed International Christian Center (ICC) 83-53 while Co-op Bank were too much for Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) pounding them 78-55 in another semi final Game One tie that failed to live upto expectations to the dissapointment of the fair crowd.

KCB roared off to a 16-12 first quarter lead after a Paul "Dudu" Onyango opener. In the second quarter ICC had took a brief 21-20 lead on a Phil Dinga basket but once Victor Odendo nailed a three pointer that sparked a 15-0 Lions run, it was clear who was in charge.

Lions led 38-23 at the break and soon after resumption Tobias Onyango made it a 20 point play with a basket at 47-27. In the last quarter, KCB had build a huge 62-36 cushion without even breaking any sweat. Onyango nailed 26 points and Odendo had 15. ICC had Griffin Ligare with 14 and Phil Dinga with 10.

Vincent Ambani put Co-op Bank ahead with a roaring slam after four missed chances. KPA locked the duel thrice before going ahead on a Dan Okwiri free shot for a 11-10 advantage. Allan Ouma came off the bench and his bankers helped a 16-13 first quarter lead.

In the second quarter, Ouma hit three baskets in a row and a Richard Osano running dunk made it 36-22 and Co-op were up and away to a 36-24 half time cushion. The fourth Co-op saw enjoy a 58-39 edge and enough confidence to take to Mombasa for Game two.

Osano led with 17 points that included four rim roasting slams and Ouma twisted and turned aof another 14. KPA had nbo floor leader and no wonder no one scored in double figures. Okwiri and Javan Odhiambo had nine and Sam Ocholla made eight in few minutes.

Posta had it all too easy whipping Lomboritz 75-45 in a one sided show. The mailmen, up 35-25 at half time had 17 points from William Otieno. United States International University (USIU) beat Strathmore University 69-55. Evans Leting made 15 points for Tigers and James Rugut pepped Blades with 22.

In the ladies semi finals, Eagle Wings got the better of rivals Eastern Queens with a 63-50 win in Game One. After a close first quarter lead, the victors blasted off to a 23-5 edge in the second. Evaline Kedogo then nailed two three pointers in the third, the last one propelling the lead to 55-30.

But in the last quarter, Queens punished Wings many turn overs scoring to reduce the margin to a respectable contest. Kedogo scored 12 as did Bridgit Nanzala for Wings while Irene Makori and Hilda Indasi each contributed 13 for the losers. The matches are played in the best of three series.

In the classification matches, Sylvia Omollo recorded 18 points and Joyce Alivida hit 15 as they guided prite Storms to a 52-37 thrashing of Yana in a classification. Storms, down 21-27 displayed their best game in months to deservedly win this encounter.

Grace Wanjiru nailed 12 points as Strathmore University ladies beat Kenya College of Accountancy (KCA) University 34-22 in a game coach Sylvia Kamau says was a must win. "There was no way we were going to end up in eighth place again." she noted.

In the lower division, top seed rampant Masinde Muliro University of Agriculture and Technology (MMUST) beat Parklands Baptist 95-78 behind 29 points from Martin Gitonga and 28 from Bryan Rugew. A win in Kakamega will propel them to premier.

Kenya college of Accountancy (KCA) University took a 37-26 first half lead but had to struggle before nipping Blazers 63-60. Victor Okello made 16 points and Titus Musembi added 11 for KCA. Blazers Joseph Kosgey hit 19 and Ken Keya bagged 15.