BOTSWANA : Spartans in narrow win over Dolphins

Nelson Direng
Correspondent Meggi Monday, 27 June 2011

Spartans beat gallant Dolphins 62-59 in a closely contested basketball league game at the University of Botswana (UB) courts on Saturday. Many expected a walkover for Spartans but it was not to be as Dolphins showed resilience falling only three points short. The first quarter of the game ended 17-7 with Spartans securing an early lead against the youngsters.

Spartans' Clive Phiri was the first to score two successful free throws and his side races 13-1 lead in the fifth minute of the quarter. But Churchill Burrows sailed through the Spartans' defence to score and rally Dolphins to an impressive fight-back. As Dolphins were recovering, Spartans surprisingly pulled out powerful forward Robert 'Bendo' Mosalakatane.

In the second half, Phiri registered the first score for Spartans with Burrows responding immediately with the sole dunk of the game. Sensing danger, Spartans brought back Mosalakatane. The third quarter ended 53-36. In the last minute of the game, Dolphins were down 57-62 but scored a basket with 30 seconds remaining to end it 62-59. Spartans' forward Mothusi 'Speedy' Thipe said they dominated in the first half but in the last stages, their defence slowed down and they conceded easy balls.

He said that their intensity dropped, probably due to the cold weather. He applauded Dolphins for their fighting spirit. 'Dolphins are a much younger team than us, but they proved to have what it takes to play in the big league,' he said.