BAL: Rivers Hoopers dominate Cape Town Tigers to finish third

Rivers Hoopers’ star player Devine Eke goes for a lay-up against the Cape Town Tigers. PHOTO/STUART TIBAWESWA 

What you need to know:

Amayo and Eke combined for 45 points in front of a big crowd to ensure the Rivers Hoopers end the season on the podium.

On a day head coach Ogoh Odaudu was named the 2024 BAL Coach of the Year, Rivers Hoopers registered their highest finish in the history of the competition.

The Nigerian outfit defeated Cape Town Tigers 80-57 on Friday at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda, to finish third and leave the stage on a high.

Led by star players Kelvin Amayo and Devine Eke, the Kingsmen were in control of proceedings from tip off until the final buzzer.

Amayo and Eke combined for 45 points in front of a big crowd to ensure the Rivers Hoopers end the season on the podium.

The Cape Town Tigers were without their two star players Carter Diarra and Samkelo Cele due to injuries and struggled to get going on both ends of the ball.

Rivers took an early 25-8 lead at the end of the first quarter and never looked back.

The South African champions improved in the second quarter to edge the Hoopers 21-18 but it was the Nigerians who took a 43-29 lead into the halftime break. 

The lead grew bigger at the end of the third frame, which the Hoopers dominated 20-9 to stretch the advantage to 25 points (63-38).

Despite taking the fourth quarter 19-17, the damage had been done and the Cape Town Tigers, who caused the biggest upset by knocking out top-seeded FUS Rabat in the quarterfinals, had no way back. 

Point guard Will Perry scored 10 points, picked seven rebounds and dished out eight assists on the night.

For the Tigers, Dhieu Deng and Ngor Manyang were the only players to score in double figures, with 17 and 14 points, respectively.

Nkisinathi Sibanyoni ended the game with eight points and a massive 15 rebounds.

Abel Offia directs the offense during Friday’s BAL third-place game between Rivers Hoopers and Cape Town Tigers. PHOTO/STUART TIBAWESWA 

The Tigers’ 20 turnovers and a dismal five-for-32 shooting beyond the arc did not help matters on the night.

Mlungisi Ngwenya’s charges also struggled on the free throw line, only converting 10 of the possible 20.

In the end, third and fourth place for Rivers Hoopers and Cape Town Tigers, respectively, is massive improvement on which to build for next season. 

Basketball Africa League 

Third-place game 

Rivers Hoopers 80-57 Cape Town Tigers 

BAL Coach of the Year 

Ogoh Odaudu (Rivers Hoopers)