Kwese Basketball League: Rivers Hoopers make strong road statements


Rivers Hoopers have proved they can be a dominant force at home and on the road, showing this in their last couple of road games and results they pulled.

Their road regime started from Ilorin on May 25th where they suffered their biggest ever loss in professional basketball, losing 93- 57 to the Kwara Falcons.

Though Somto Managor polled 11 points and 2 rebounds in that one, it still was not enough.

In that one, Ogor Odaudu, coach of the Hoopers would not be drawn into suggestions that his side lost due to fatigue but to the mistakes they made on the court.

“When Kwara Falcons came to Port Harcourt they traveled in a worse condition than us and they still put up a good performance. I won’t attribute it to fatigue. I think we just played terribly. We could not string two or three passes together, we could not run two offences back to back perfectly.

“You can not win basketball with that amount of mistakes. We will go back to our drawing board because our focus now is on our next game against Oluyole Warriors in Ibadan,” said a furious Odaudu.

And true to his words, the Hoopers shook off the lethargy of that scandalous loss when they played in Ibadan two days later, winning 78-71.

This time it was Solomon Ajegbeyi who took matters into his own hands with a game high of 18 points, grabbing 4 rebounds and 3 assists.

Three days later, on June 1, the Kingsmen, as Hoopers are called were in Lagos to face off against the NAF rockets and they won 70-64, giving their Atlantic Conference rivals some cause for concern.

The game in Lagos gave Solomon Ajegbeyi his 4th double double of the season as he got 12 points and 11 rebounds as well as a block while Emmanuel Balogun had a game high of 19 points with Donald Alalibo contributing 12 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists.

If there was any doubts as to the Hoopers being back from their slumber, this result cleared it all, but the King’s men were not done yet, were they?

They made it back to back wins in Lagos, surviving a late scare to beat newly promoted Hoops & Read 59-63 the next Saturday with Alalibo scoring 17 points and 4 rebounds while Emmanuel Balogun contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds.

Ajegbeyi missed out on a 5th double double as he managed only 9 points and 12 rebounds in the game.

Against Hoops and Reed, the Kingsmen had a strong start into the game, depriving the hosts defensively while getting easy baskets.

With scores at 11-15 and 1:55 seconds remaining, Hoopers made a 12-0 run (11-25) to extend the lead.

The 14 points lead was however reduced to 7points by the end of second quarter with three straight 3-point shots from Owen Oriake who contributed 16 points and 5 rebounds for the Lagos based side.

Disappointingly, the Port Harcourt side were left to chase the game in the third quarter due to serial missed shots, poor defending and scoring just 9 points in the quarter. Hoops & Read tied the game with 8 seconds left to play 46-46 before the Hoopes finally out scored them 63-59.

After that grueling game in Lagos, Hoopers coach, Ogoh Odaudu explained, “It was a very interesting game and tough. We did all the things we were supposed to do even though we started breaking down a little bit towards the third and fourth quarter but we did all we were supposed to do and we came out victorious.

“These guys are young, they are energetic all they wanted to do was run up and down the court,” Odaudu said.

Before their return to Port Harcourt, the Kingsmen stopped over in Asaba for a date with Delta Force and once again won 74-79 to return to the top of the Conference table.

Emmanuel Balogun scored 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 steals, Ronald Alalibo added 13 points and 7 rebounds while Buchi Nwaiwu made his first double digit of the season scoring 10 points and 2 blocked shots.

In all, Hoopers suffered a total of 32 turnovers, 14 more than their opponents, but made 47 rebounds, scoring 7 of their 21 three points shots with three of the 7 from Alalibo in the second half.

Despite a late rally by Delta Force in the last quarter (25-17), Hoopers held on to leapfrog Kwara Falcons on top of the Atlantic conference after the Ilorin-based side lost earlier in the day to Oluyole Warriors in Ibadan.

The KingsMen have now won four games in a row since the emphatic loss to Falcons on May 25 in Ilorin.

Was Odaudu excited over the win and their new found form? Surely he was.

It was a good game. The most important thing is that we won the game even though we didn’t play to the level we were supposed to play.

“I think I will blame it on the fact that most of these guys have the break in their head already. They are thinking of their families, homes etc that was what the problem was. All in all it was a good game, we won and that’s our main objective,” said Odaudu.

Meanwhile, after observing a 2 week break in the League, the Hoopers will return to the courts in Lagos, another road game to face the Nigeria Customs on June 22 and then the Police Baton on June 24.

0 thoughts on “Kwese Basketball League: Rivers Hoopers make strong road statements

  1. We know the value of teamwork and how it can make a huge difference in the game that we are playing. Let us always unite and never let arrogance control us because it might lead us to selfishness that might destroy the game that we need to win. We can bow down our heads and offer our praises to our opponent for it is a sign of respect. We all have our own rights, rights that will help us in this world.

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