Rivers Hoopers ended the four-game unbeaten run of Kwara Falcons after a 66-60 victory on Thursday on home court.
Ronald Alalibo had 14 points, 3 rebounds and 3 steals while center Tano Emuhowo contributed 10 points and 4 rebounds in a game watched by the Rivers State Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye.
The KingsMen started brightly in the first quarter recording the longest run in the game 11-0 with 5:05 remaining ensuring Hoopers built an 8-point lead heading to the second quarter (20-12).
Alalibo was left to rue his missed shot from the 3 point range just before the buzzer in the second quarter and the last seconds layup with less than 0:2 seconds remaining in the final quarter.
The North Central team rallied from a 10 point deficit (41-31) with 6:16 remaining in the third and successfully tied the game 47-47 with 1:13 left to play. But Id Ogan’s consecutive shots ensured the Port Harcourt side were back in the lead by 4 points.
Emuhowo followed up with his bullish play in the final quarter helping Hoopers to a 4-0 run adding 2 blocks. Though the visitors did all they could to recover late in the game but were let down by the collective misses and successive turnovers.
Falcons however were able to convert 16 out of their 20 free throws awarded in the game but never managed to take the lead in the entire game. Johnson Anaiye and David Godwin both scored 10 points each for the visitors.
Kwara Falcons coach, Adewunmi Aderemi said there is more work to be done on his team.
“It was a very nice game. We played against a very good side. I don’t underrate any team in basketball. They played at home while we were the away side. This is our first loss against an away team this season. We are okay but lots need to be corrected. “said Aderemi
On his part, Hoopers head coach, Ogoh Odaudu admitted his side’s poor showing in the third quarter of their games this season.
“It was a good victory for us, in the first two quarters we played very well. We did what we were supposed to do but we broke down in the third quarter. Third quarter has always been our bad quarter. We have to go back now and work on our third quarter. Altogether, it was a good game whether it is a 1 point win or 2 we will go away with it. ” Odaudu said.
Rivers Hoopers will next play host to Oluyole Warriors on Saturday.
Meanwhile, General manger of Rivers Hoopers Basketball Club, Ifie Ozaka has urged his players and officials to imbibe the culture of giving back to the society.
Ozaka made this known during the visit to the Orphanage home at Borokiri on Wednesday.
“By God’s grace as long as we have life in us every year we will continue to do this every year we will continue to reach out to kids like this and expand it as much as we can.
“It’s a constant reminder, I am humbled each time I am here I am privilege, you are privileged and we are all privileged. Let’s put it at the back of our minds that life as you know or see it is a privilege. As difficult as it is for you or successful as it is for you, it’s a privilege and you are better than someone and a whole lot of people,” Ozaka stated.
“We thank God for giving us the opportunity to be here to celebrate with this children, we will pray with them and pray that God will always empower us to keep doing this every year not just once I am sure we can do it twice or thrice this year. God will empower us to do it,” said Ozaka.