Swords-Flames game suspended, Blades triumph

Swords-Flames game suspended, Blades triumph

Ariel Okal (L) of Nairobi City Thunder avoid a tackle from Regan okere of Ulinzi Warriors during their Kenya National Basketball League clash at Nyayo Stadium gymnasium on April 05, 2024. Thunder won 75-55. Photo/Sportpicha

By Craig Macharia

Nyayo Basketball Court was the centre stage for the Kenyan Basketball League (KBL) playoffs yesterday.

It was Game 2 of the quarterfinals, and the atmosphere crackled with tension.

Strathmore Swords versus USIU Flames was the first planned match. All season long, both women's teams had shown potential but as soon as the game began, it was clear that something was wrong. 

Officials stopped play in the midst of increasing rebounds and fast paced dribbles just minutes into the first quarter - there were player irregularities, according to rumours that swept across the arena.

The officials committee ultimately decided to announce that the game would be temporarily suspended after consulting. Fate of Strathmore Swords and USIU Flames is still unknown pending further investigation.

Blades vs Tigers

For the final match scheduled for the day, it was the mens Strathmore Blades who faced off against the USIU Tigers in their own Game 2.

Unlike their counterparts in the suspended game, the Blades and Tigers engaged in a full-throttle battle that kept the audience on the edge of their seats.

Led by their sharp-shooting guards and dominant presence in the paint, the Strathmore Blades showcased a formidable performance. By halftime, the scores were tight with Tigers leading 38 and Blades finishing with 35. 

The victory marked not only a win in Game 2 but also a sweep of the best-of-three series, having convincingly won Game 1 as well with a score of 81-52. 

The Strathmore Blades, under the guidance of coach Tony Ochieng, celebrated their qualification for the semifinals. For Coach Ochieng, it was a moment of pride and reflection.

"Fantastic job from my players," Coach Ochieng praised his team in a post-game interview. 

"We must also give our opponents credit for scouting our plays and making it difficult for us to penetrate. 

"At halftime, we made some adjustments that really impacted the game. We needed more shots, and they came through when it mattered most."

He added: "I am very happy for the boys, especially considering our journey this season. From being at the bottom of the league in the first leg to pushing up to sixth position in the second leg, and now here we are in the semis. It's a testament to their hard work and resilience. Now, we focus on preparing for our next challenge against Kenya Ports Authority."

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