MAURITANIA : Nasr Sebkha, ASC Armée dominate Mauritania basketball

ASC Armée and Nasr Sebkha are overpowering their opponents as Mauritania's biggest basketball tournament continues its final phases from July 20th to August 7th.

So far, only the girl's teams have played at least one game each in the competition, which is under way at the capital's Youth and Sports Management Training Centre court.

On July 21st, Imraguens lost their debut game 55-49 at the hands of the more experienced Nasr Sebkha squad led by Mariem Ba, who scored 24 points by herself.

"They kept their opponents well in check for the first three quarters of the match, before finally buckling under the pressure towards the end," said the Imraguens coach. "I think it's a good start, because it's their first outing."

Good feelings aside, Nasr Sebkha took the upper hand in a cringe-inducing second half by going on a 30-0 run.

On July 22nd, ASC Armée, on their second outing, took no prisoners when they beat Rosso 58-27. Medina Watt really shone in this match, which was played in front of a large crowd.

"This is a complete team, with no holes anywhere in the line-up, and we were just left doing damage control," said Rosso coach Moussa Keita. "The army was far too strong this year."

ASC Armée coach Cheibani Lo wrapped up after the match by telling his players: "Just because you're on top, that doesn't mean you can let up."

"You can't lose sight of the fact that this is just the preliminary round [of the final phases], and the hardest work is still ahead of us," he told the team in front of the press.

On 24 July, in another game at the top of the girls' competition, Nasr Sebkha, in their second outing, won 52-48 in a hard-fought match. Their foes were a tenacious team from M'Bagne captained by Oulèye Dieye from Senegal.

The atmosphere was particularly heated for this game, with a number of scuffles between fans. At the end of the clash, Ba, the captain of Sebhkha Nasr, paid tribute to her opponents' determination.

"We were faced with a good team, who forced us to dig deep, and that's what makes for a good game. We needed this win, and we got it. That's what matters," she told Magharebia.

Meanwhile, Oulèye Dièye, considered by many to be the best player in the game, was sorry to see her teammates miss some easy baskets.

"It's a shame that in the last quarter, at the point where there was just one point between us, we missed some easy baskets. Now we need to concentrate on the other matches in order to get through to the semi-finals," she said.

Following this match, the first game between senior boys produced a win for the team from Base T.Zeina, which overpowered a team from Arafat 62-35.