KENYA : Upper Hill seek basketball title

Upper Hill, seeking their maiden provincial basketball title, will battle cross-town rivals Nairobi International School, also looking for their first title during the boy's basketball final on Saturday.

That looks like a solid storyline for Saturday’s showdown. But let’s toss in the fact that their regular season tilt went right down to the wire, with Upper Hill sneaking out with a 62-59 victory.

NIS on the other hand made sure of their successive appearance at the finals after humbling Aquinas 54-44 at the semi-finals played last week in Hospital Hill.

On Saturday, the hosts will bank on their home ground advantage as they aim to re-write history.

Ended 10-year reign

“We are confident of going all the way [to the nationals]. This is our year,” said Peter Orero, Upper Hill’s principal.

“Since we are the hosts, we need to make good use of our home ground advantage during the match.”

Upper Hill is not your usual basketball team, but the school brought St Austin’s 10-year reign to an end after they beat them in a closely-contested semi-final to reach the provincial final for the first time.

Throughout the past decade St Austin’s dictated the provincial pace.

Like much of the season, the hosts will be led by Desmond Oyira and Jared Ouma, who have been a big inspiration for the new kids on the block.

Likewise, look out for NIS’s ballot possibility in Mohammed Mwakamucha, who possesses an inside game that has improved tremendously over his past two senior seasons. He will have to be key in defence.

‘Prove our worth’

“This is our chance to prove our worth. We need to keep our cool and we shall make it,” noted Radhika Lee, the NIS principal.

At the head of the Upper Hill bench, Orero remains the outsider. Despite a fulltime career as an administrator, he has led some great teams close to winning the school titles in football, netball and basketball. Since 1992, he has led a team to the national finals.