KWESE PBL: HOOPERS DUO LEADS THE KINGSMEN PAST WARRIORS

Rivers Hoopers rebounded from Thursday’s loss to Kwara Falcons defeating Oluyole Warriors 71-60 points on Saturday at the Indoor Sports Hall, Adamasingba Stadium, Ibadan.

Hoopers were led by two backcourt players Ikechukwu Benjamin and Emmanuel Balogun, who scored 14 points and 12 points respectively in a game dominated by the Atlantic Conference Leaders.

The KingsMen made up for Thursday’s loss in Ilorin as they held their own from start to finish against the Warriors.

With two seconds left on the clock, Ikechukwu made a three point buzzer shot which increased their advantage to 7-18 going into the second quarter.

The game was tied just once and Hoopers only missed 4 of 14 of their free throws.

Third quarter games are usually challenging for the Ogoh Odaudu-led team but against the Warriors, they showed better intensity. Hoopers led as much as 17 points heading to the fourth (40-57).

Despite losing the third quarter (22-25), the Warriors recuperated forcing their visitors to commit several errors early in the fourth.

Hoopers had trouble maintaining a significant cushion and possession half way into the fourth.

The former champions had a low scoring game in the fourth as they made just 14 points, the least of all four quarters played. The visitors were unable to extend their advantage through the last minute of the game. The host responded with a 7-0 run of their own to pull within (57-69) with 1:05 remaining.

The margin would have been greater if not for the abundance of turnovers suffered by the KingsMen late in the game.

Efforts to close in the gap on Hoopers was cut short as the KingsMen had done the larger part of the work in the first half with little to be done in the closing quarter.

Rivers Hoopers coach was excited his team could bounce back each time they lose a game.

“We always bounce back from every loss. The last time we were in Kwara they nearly killed us. They blew us out by 36 points and we came back here (Ibadan) and picked the game the next day.

“I think it’s a good test for our guys. They normally don’t go on a losing streak. They lose 1 and pick themselves up and bounce back again,” said Odaudu.

Hoopers last two regular season games will be in Lagos next week against NAF Rocket on Thursday and Hoops and Read on Saturday.

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