Solomon Ajegbeyi terrorized his former side scoring 14 points, contributing Hoopers rebounding edge with 17 rebounds in the 75-63 victory over Police baton on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall, National Stadium Lagos.
Coach Ogoh Odaudu altered the starting five he used in the loss against Nigeria Customs on Thursday with experienced guard, Anyebe Ujoh starting in place of Victor James. Though he had a minimal impact offensively, Ujoh orchestrated the team’s fluid ball movement, limited Baton’s possession and kept them out of transition while dominating them defensively when called upon.
Police Baton were limited on the offence in the opening quarter, going 0-5 run for 4 minutes without scoring and finally ending the first quarter 6-18. The hosts had a better second quarter, outscoring Hoopers by a point (17-16) completing 5 of 7 from 3 point range eventually heading to the break 23-34.
It was however an electrifying third quarter for both teams offensively but Hoopers still maintained the lead into the final quarter of the game. The KingsMen had the highest run in the game recorded in the third quarter going 12-0 run (25-46) for 2 minutes with 6:53 minutes left to play.
Police Baton who just returned to the league after missing one season were led by Kelvin Dandison who scored a game high 20 points, 3 assists while Ayanlere Kamal added 15 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist.
The Baton tried to find their rhythm in the last quarter but Hoopers guard, Friday Haruna came off the bench to make several big shots scoring 10 points while Id Ogan contributed 11 points and 2 rebounds.
Speaking with the media after the game Police Baton coach, Emeka Oputa believes there is still room for improvement on his team.
“We did well and we are improving as a team. If you look at the game we played good defence but we were not scoring so those little things were the things that affected my team. We had six baskets in the first quarter and we could not score until they got to 16 and those are part of the little things we need to work on.” Said Oputa.
On his part, Hoopers coach Ogoh Odaudu said his team’s mental strength helped them bounce back from Thursday’s loss.
“We did nothing, Thursday’s loss was a loss that should not be on our records. It was just unfortunate things happened the way it did. I think they did a lot better today, they were focused mentally. You could see that they played with a lot of ease and no tension that is because I told them to have fun and forget Thursday’s loss and I think they did.” Odaudu said.
Rivers Hoopers will play Kwara Falcons on Thursday April 27 in Port Harcourt.