NAIROBI (Inter Cities) - It was the same old story as Nairobi women and Mombasa men's teams retained the 12th edition of the Sprite East and Central Africa Inter Cities titles in style as the nine team tournament came to a close in the Kenyan coastal town over the weekend.
In the final matches played before packed hall, Nairobi proved too smart for Mombasa whipping them 59-40 in the women's finals that was close only in the first half. In the men's category, Mombasa did well to beat Dar es Salaam 52-41 in a low scoring but hard fought game. Both teams battled it out in Arusha finals last year with Mombasa squeezing out a close 63-61 advantage.
Nairobi got off to a bright start as Anastacia Njeri fed captain Caroline "Manjeng" Achieng inside for an easy basket. Angela Okoth made it 4-0, Hilda Indasi and Njeri then scored as Nairobi got off running to a 8-0 cushion before Mombasa had hit the target. And it was Yvonne Akinyi made the hosts opener. Nairobi were up 17-12 in the first quarter. In the second quarter Okoth picked a rebound and went on a coast to coast drive making the tally 21-13 and the winners went to the break leading 27-21.
After resumption, the tireless Indasi then took over completing a three point play and then swishing a three pointer for a 36-23 edge before Emma Nyakweba beat the bvuzzer at the end of teh third quarter for a 47-42 advantage. Nairobi was unstoppable as they maintained a strong 20 points cushion all the way answering every basket Mombasa made with deadly arrogance.
Indasi named MVP led the rout with 16 points, Okoth and Njeri connected for 10 each while Grace "Gus" Wanjiku, named best defensive players never stopped working and was the revelation of the tournament with her buzzing display all over the court. For Mombasa, Irene Murambi and Millicent Anyango combined for the teams 19 points haul.
Kampala had 15 points from Nassuna Sarah as they won 56-38 over Dar to finsh third. A dissapointing Dar had 11 points from Faraja Malaika. Mombasa Select side was fifth and gave as good account of themselves.
Mombasa.... 52 Dar........41
The young Mombasa lads posed all sorts of problems for Dar who hit the game opener on a three pointer by Francis Malewa but when Dan Okwirri gave the coastal lads a 8-7 lead , the much experienced Dar trailed the rest of the way. Mombasa were ahead 13-11 in the first quarter. In the second, Okwirri made a three for 36-28 lead while Zadock Osogo turned the game around with four points as Mombasa sailed away 50-38.
Osogo, declared the finals MVP had provided 12 points while the stylish Okwirri added 14. Dar's Mulewa got the best defensive player award and veteran center George Tarimo was named the events top scorer. Mom,bnasa Select beat Mwanza to end up in third position. Kelvin Ominde scored 19 points but it was Mwanza's Adam Jagame who led with 28 points.
In their penultimate matches, Nairobi rolled over Dar es Salaam 69-42 pulling up the strings in the first half to win with consumate ease. Indasi nailed an opening three as Nairobi took over. She nailed 12 points while Irene Makori bagged 12. For Dar. Amina Ahmed was the toast with 10 points and Faraja Malaika made nine.
The game saw four sisters share the courts with Janet and Angela Okoth for Nairobi while the Tanzanians girls, Sajda, a student in a Nairobi university playing against her sibling Amina who led the losers in scoring.
A last gasp three pointer at the buzzer by Francis Malewa saw Dar come from behind to stun Mombasa City 50-48 in a cracking game. It seemed the host would carry the day until a stunner by Malewa deflated the home fans. Dar topped the mens pool and while Mombasa were second.
Kampala City had to use every trick in the book before prevailing 53-52 against Mombasa Select girls. The losers Purity Adhiambo nailed tournament high 30 points, she was the events top scorer, while the winners had 14 points a piece from Mariam Hamalla, Annete Nakiwa and Sorigi Martha