Basketball National League SA

FRIDAY - BNL - WEEK 3 GETS UNDERWAY IN STYLE

The first of the two fixtures of the evening pitted the Tshwane Suns with Mpumalanga Rhinos and North-West Eagles with the Soweto Panthers.

Tshwane Suns vs Mpumalanga Rhinos - Game #11, 24 August 2018

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The first ballers weekend 2-game battle was between Tshwane Suns and Mpumalanga Rhinos, who were ferocious in their quest to find a win first up, but the Tshwane Suns shone brighter coming out 69-48 winners in the tussle between the two.

Game one was intense in the opening first three quarters with Mpumalanga Rhinos enjoying the lead in those quarters with the Tshwane Suns often playing catch up in most cases, but they could never really eclipse the Rhinos.

The Tshwane Suns seemed to conserve their energy throughout, where their field goal attempts were higher, but the lack of execution saw them lag behind. The final quarter of the game however saw a complete turnaround in the fixture, with field goal attempts now being bagged instead of going afar. Tichafara Mabiza being influential in the turnaround, providing a staggering five attempts to the men from Pretoria’s resurrection in the game. The first encounter however exposed some rust from the attacker’s, with many opportunities to grant clean three pointers going a begging. Kagiso Ngoetjana was also very influential in making it a clean and dry finish for the Tshwane Suns, coming back from being in 39-38 down in the third quarter to clinch the game 69-48 in the final quarter. But more credit must be given to the Tshwane Suns who were 11-4 down in the first quarter and had to fight a 6-point deficit in the second quarter.

Soweto Panthers vs North-West Eagles - Game #12, 24 August 2018

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The second match up in itself saw strong contenders the Soweto Panthers, try get the weekend underway in a good manner and set the tone right for the rest of the campaign that lays ahead, when they battled it out with the North-West Eagles.

The game was the first of the two encounters for the weekend, the teams were due to play during the weekend against one another. Going into the clash, the Soweto Panthers were by far the favourites and it showed on the court, when they made light work of the North-West Eagles, pouncing on them in a 78-46 victory.

The first quarter started off very competitive with both teams not giving too much away, playing with a lot of caution. As the game progressed however, more points were being put on the board, with the Soweto Panthers getting the better start, which the North-West Eagles stepped up to level matters at 5-5. Towards the end of the quarter however, the favourites found a lead and stretched it to make the scoreboard look more positive on their end with the score at 18-10.

The second quarter belonged to Soweto, who managed to stack up a further 25 points on the board to North-West’s further 7. That may have been the problem for the side from the North-West, finding a mountain in front of them to climb after just two quarters. That however did not deter them at all, as the third quarter saw better finishing and a possible come back on the cards in the opening exchanges. Discipline was however an issue towards the end of the quarter, which resulted in Soweto taking back the advantage and adding more points to their lead, almost adding a further 30 points to the deficit. The third quarter ended with the score at a comfortable 64-34 to the Panthers.

The rest of the game was pretty much one-way traffic, with the Soweto Panthers dominating thoroughly, with North-West failing to keep up the scoreboard pressure. In the end the Soweto Panthers thrashed the North-West Eagles 78-46.

Mpumalanga Rhinos earn first win ater beating Tshwane Suns - Game #13, 25 August 2018

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The first game of the second day of Week 3, saw the Mpumalanga Rhinos out shine the Tshwane Suns 69-54, in an upset-match that was expected to be tightly contested throughout at the Wembley arena in Johannesburg.

The match itself was a great one for the spectator’s present, with Richard Lubasi earning the Mpumalanga Rhinos a quick 5-0 lead early on with a 3-pointer and a lovely lay-up. The Tshwane sides fought to try get back in the game, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the men from Mpumalanga, who enjoyed a 15-9 lead going into the second quarter.

Too many fouls committed by the Tshwane Suns had them fall behind during the second quarter, which saw the Rhinos continue to enjoy much of the possession to drive forward to a 23-12 lead in the opening exchanges. The rest of the quarter was just more of a Rhinos dominance, with the men from Mpumalanga adding a further 10 points, to Tshwane’s 5 points, which saw the teams go onto play out to the Mpumalanga Rhinos leading 33-17. Johnny Banza failed to get any of his two free throws awarded to his side, inside the last 12 seconds of the 2nd quarter.

The third quarter was an interesting one, that saw the Tshwane side look to try keep within touching distance after a few changes at the break. The Mpumalanga Rhinos continued to lead 36-23, with Simphiwe Masondo keeping consistency for the Rhinos. Richard Lubasi kept them afloat with another 2-pointer which led to a 38-25 lead. Things quickly escalated to the Rhinos leaping to a 20-point advantage at the end of the quarter. 

The final quarter became more of a chasing game for the Tshwane Suns, but it wasn’t easy, but they continued to persist. The lead required a big effort from the attackers to trim down and get with winning distance. The likes of Kagiso Ngoetjana continued to persist in finding ways to add points whilst being fouled. Rhinos always kept consistency in maintaining a healthy lead over the Suns through quick transition attack and defensive stops. In the end the might of the Mpumalanga Rhinos was too much to handle for the Tshwane Suns that would have hoped to do better on Sunday. Rhinos finished the game off winning 69-54.

North-West Eagles comebac to stun the Soweto Panthers - Soweto Panthers vs North-West Eagles - Game #14, 25 August 2018

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It was a tough battle from the onset, with the North-West Eagles enjoying the early stages of the exchanges, going up 8-2 very early on. The match up then quickly saw Soweto Panthers turn things around very quickly, with Tatenda Maturure being very influential bagging a majority of the points to keep the men from Soweto within touching distance with a couple of lay ups. The two teams then had to eventually settle for a 21-21 stalemate, but it took a huge effort from both ends as the lead exchanged hands often.

The second quarter saw the coaches make a few changes from both sides, with the likes of Reece Prinsloo and Tshepo Mogotsi coming on for Liam Reid and Dinesh Mitchell.

Sylvian Kasongo Ndila of North-west Eagles got the scoreboard rolling first, with a lay up to make it 23-21. That would set the tone for the rest of the quarter, with both sides showing their competitiveness but it was the men from the North-West that enjoyed more possession, that lead them to edge the Panthers 41-39 at the end of the quarter. The last two quarters were a seesaw contest with Soweto Panthers clawing their way back into the encounter even gaining a 10-point lead at some stage. The crucial stages of the match saw a lapse in concentration by the Soweto Panthers, which let the North-West Eagles back into the fold, which eventually saw North-West come out victorious 89-84.

Egoli produce magic to make Limpopo Swallow their pride - Egoli Magic vs Limpopo Pride - Game #15, 25 August 2018

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Egoli Magic looked in fine form and produced an impressive performance to outplay Limpopo Pride 68-46, in a game where pundits would have definitely predicted would not be all smooth sailing for Egoli, with Limpopo always putting in a shift and playing hard until the end defending their pride.

The first quarter saw a very slow start from both teams with Thabang Banda and Ernest Masimini being the only ones able to register points for Limpopo, as they trailed 11-4 at the end of the first quarter. The likes of Miguel Ferrao and Kgotso Nthoane did well to lead their charges to fragile 7-point lead first up, through turning fouls into points and well executed lay-ups that resulted from good all-round team moves. The defensive efforts of Egoli Magic must also be commended, which often kept Limpopo Pride at bay.

With the nerves now eventually settled from both ends, an avalanche of attacks was mustered up but the more clinical side being Egoli Magic in the second quarter. The Magicians dominated possessions, which often seemed to frustrate Limpopo into committing fouls that were turned into points. Tony Chukwurah, Kgotso Nthoane, and Miguel Ferrao were very instrumental in the points tally for Egoli, often combining well with their teammates to propel the team to producing Magic. At the conclusion of the 2nd quarter Thabang Banda and his Limpopo teammates failed to keep out the threatening attackers of Egoli, who eventually closed off leading the game 33-17.

The third quarter belonged to Limpopo in the opening 2 minutes, but Egoli were always good at quickly responding to whatever Limpopo did. It almost seemed as if Egoli were conserving energy in order to finish off the quarter in style. The last 5 minutes was mainly about the Joburg side, who kept the scoreboard ticking. Again, Egoli would play off the mistakes made by Limpopo, who seemed to be on the back foot. The quarter was closed off with Thabang Banda committing a foul, which saw Kgotso Nthoane bag 1 of his two free throws to see out the game 51-34, when the hooter sounded for the end of the third.

Egoli magic make it by 10 points to maintain good record over limpopo pride - Egoli Magic vs Limpopo Pride - Game #16, 26 August 2018

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The only game that took place on Sunday afternoon, saw Egoli Magic take to the Wembley arena court in Johannesburg against Limpopo pride. Previous matches between these two sides have often seen Egoli Magic being the more dominant side, winning the previous three meetings quite comfortably. The last game was won 68-46 by Egoli Magic.

In the encounter that took place this afternoon, around lunch time, Egoli Magic kept to winning ways, sweeping past the men from Limpopo 77-67 in fairly high scoring affair that saw possession exchange hands with action swiftly moving from end to end. The team leader for Egoli is Miguel Ferrao and Kgotso Nthaone who average 4 assists each, with Ferrao in average blocks and points. Limpopo Pride on the other hand, were led by the likes of Tumelo Kekana, Josias Malahlela, and Ernest Masimini in those departments.

In the game however, stats are left for statisticians and the basketball for the players. The match had a sluggish start, but it was Egoli Magic who struck the hoop first, enjoying an early lead thanks to Miguel Ferrao. The Johannesburg outfit enjoyed a slender lead throughout the first quarter, but Limpopo Pride did always look to keep within touching distance. Towards the end of the quarter, a lay-up from Thabang Banda ensure the men from Limpopo would go into the first break just trailing by 1 point, with the score at 12-11 to the Egoli Magic. 

The second quarter unfortunately for Limpopo Pride did not go the way they had ended the first, with some great evasive runs and movement from the Egoli Magic resulting in a 15-11 lead thanks to Mfundo Dube with Ferrao providing the assist. Most parts of the quarter continued in the same vain, with Egoli Magic consistently piling on the points in order to stay clear with Fabrice Lifungula often proving tough to stop. The second quarter can be said, was the quarter that set the tone for the rest of the game, as Egoli Magic enjoyed a 9-point lead at the end of the quarter, which was however not enough to get to comfortable with Limpopo always coming on the charge. The quarter ended 32-23, with still quite a bit to play for with two quarters still on the way.

Egoli Magic got the scoreboard ticking first again, after play resumed, with Miguel Ferrao being fouled and slotting one of his two free throws. Kgotso Nthoane also followed up with an extra two points, after he was also fouled. Discipline was letting Limpopo down, but the feisty battle still continued, with Ernest Masimini keeping his side within range of the men from Johannesburg, with a well-executed lay up to take the score tally to 35-25. The rest of the quarter saw a lot of heavy tired legs move around, with the coaches often making substitutions consistently bringing forth fresher minds and legs. The teams tugged away at each other, with the action swiftly moving from one end to another swiftly, and the scoreboard following suite. At the end of the quarter however, Limpopo Pride must have taken a slight bit of confidence from the quarter, managing to trim Egoli’s lead to just 7 points at the end of the 3rd quarter, with the score at 52-45.

The final quarter was much of the same as towards the end of the third quarter, with each team following each other up on scoreboard. Egoli did very well to maintain their lead of 7 points in the opening few moments in the quarter. The dying minutes of the match up saw Limpopo eventually fall behind by 10 points, which must have dealt with them a little mentally. In the end, Egoli Magic was too strong for Limpopo Pride, keeping their strong record intact, coming out 77-67 as winners in a great game of basketball.

The Basketball National League resumes next weekend, with the focus shifting to Durban in KwaZulu Natal. The matches will run through from Friday afternoon until Sunday, with the likes of E.C Windbreakers, KwaZulu Marlins, W.C Mountaineers, and N.C Zebras serving some sizzling action.  The Basketball National League resumes next weekend, with the focus shifting to Durban in KwaZulu Natal. The matches will run through from Friday afternoon until Sunday, with the likes of E.C Windbreakers, KwaZulu Marlins, W.C Mountaineers, and N.C Zebras serving some sizzling action.

By S’fiso Nyawo