Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda National Basketball Team, the Silverbacks lost their first game to Kenya 61-70 on last night in the FIBA Afrobasket qualifiers. The Kenyan side took 22-17 before an impressive 40-31 second quarter in a hotly contested game played in the fully packed Lugogo MTN Arena.
The Ugandan side made an attempt in vain to catch up as the Kenyan side maintained their lead of 55-46 by the third quarter. A standing ovation and cheers from the home crowed motivated the Ugandan side to close the gap to only 5 point difference but the determined Kenyan side would later stretch the lead in the fourth quarter of the game 61-70.
Kenyan’s Tylar Okari Ogwae had 19 points, 9 rebounds and four assists, while Uganda’s Brandon Davis managed 15 points. Uganda’s coach, George Galanopoulos, said Uganda’s game was quite impressive despite the loss. Galanopoulos said that they failed to rebound their balls and missed many shots from the arch.
Carey Odhiambo, the Kenya’s Assistant coach, said they are ready to win the qualifiers the way the boys played their first game. He attributed the victory to the fact that most of the Kenyan players have played in Ugandan leagues.
The Uganda Gazelles, the women national basketball team has earlier on defeated Rwanda Women’s team 62-53 in a hotly contested game. The first quarter saw Uganda register an impressive 23-11 start against the Rwandan side. The Rwandan side put up a great show in the second quarter to lead it with a huge 5-19.
Uganda won the third quarter 22-13 before sealing the day with a 12-10 fourth quarter giving them the victory of the day. Claire Gloria Lamunu was Uganda’s top performer with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists while Tierria Monay Henderson led the Rwandan side with 28 points 5 rebounds 2 assists.
The Uganda Gazelles now face the Egyptian women team on Thursday, while the Silverbacks hope to return strong on Saturday when they battle African Giants, Egypt. In other games, Egypt stopped Rwanda 68-59, while Kenyan women lost to Egyptian women with a narrow 86-82.
Action returns to MTN Arena later today as Egypt men play Kenya; Rwanda Men plays Tanzania and Rwanda Women Plays Kenya. The Zone five qualifiers are a qualification for the Afrobasketball Champions to be held in Bamako Mali between July 19 to 28 this year.