Double glory for juniors at Zone V U18

Junior Silverbacks celebrate their title. PHOTOS/JOHN BATANUDDE 

What you need to know:

The Junior Silverbacks and Gazelles, backed by a full-to-capacity Lugogo Indoor Stadium, overcame Rwanda to win the Fiba Zone V Qualifiers in spectacular fashion and attract wild celebrations from the partisan home crowd.

The Uganda U18 basketball sides capped off a thrilling week of basketball by booking tickets to August’s Fiba U18 Afrobasket Championship following victories against Rwanda in the two categories.

The Junior Silverbacks and Gazelles, backed by a full-to-capacity Lugogo Indoor Stadium, overcame Rwanda to win the Fiba Zone V Qualifiers in spectacular fashion and attract wild celebrations from the partisan home crowd.

First, it was the Junior Gazelles who dominated their Rwandan counterparts 82-52 to start off the celebrations before the Junior Silverbacks outlasted Rwanda 69-66 in an intense matchup.

Resty Nanangwe, the eventual tournament top scorer, recorded a game high 21 points to improve her average to 25 and take home the top scorer’s accolade.

Team manager Albert Ahabwe was full charged. 

Shiphrah Kiranda came off the bench to contribute a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds while eventual MVP Modesta Anyango posted nine points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

John Omondi’s charges were heads and shoulders above the rest of the field and dominated all the three opponents enroute to a 5-0 record, the title and a ticket to Afrobasket.

Squeaky bum time

The day’s main cause of tension was the Junior Silverbacks’ clash with Rwanda, the closest encounter there has been throughout the seven days of the competition.

Small forward Immaculate Adongpiny (L) on the charge. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

Andrew Tendo’s charges found themselves in unfamiliar territory, having to chase a game down the stretch, with Rwanda’s point guard Dylan Kayijuka refusing to go down without a fight.

Uganda’s 7-0 run to start the game and Mukisa Nkugwa’s monster dunk that followed Edrine Ekau’s block on the defensive end became distant memories the moment Rwanda responded to lead 34-29 going into the halftime break.

Injuries to big men Gideon Ekukwai and Victor Makmot momentarily had Uganda worried as the two stayed on the bench.

They would later return into the game, and Ekukwai used his 19 minutes on the floor for a quick 14 and 12 double-double. The Kibuli SS student protected the rim on one end and dominated for put-backs on the other.

The contest remained close and Uganda came back to lead by a single point at the end of the third quarter to set up an intense finish in the fourth.

Junior Silverbacks Brighton Galiwango is leading the charts. PHOTO/JOHN BATANUDDE 

Rwanda, however, rode on Kayijuka’s back to lead by five points midway through the fourth frame and raise the tension in the fully-packed arena.

It took Tejan Rugette, the team captain and eventual MVP, taking matters into his own hands in the closing moments to close the contest. The point guard ended the game with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Peter Sserunjogi played his best game for Uganda, scoring 15 points, picking 10 rebounds and protecting the rim with eight blocks.

The forward stepped up every time Uganda needed a bucket and was a big part of the team’s defense. Ekau scored 13 points and picked seven rebounds on the night.

The wins were enough for Uganda to secure tickets to the Fiba U18 Afrobasket slated for August in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Fiba U18 Zone V Afrobasket Qualifiers

Finals

Girls

Uganda 82-52 Rwanda

Boys

Rwanda 66-69 Uganda

Bronze game

Girls: Kenya 70-63 Tanzania

Boys: Kenya 79-71 Tanzania

Individual Awards

MVP

Girls: Modesta Anyango (Uganda)

Boys: Tejan Rugette (Uganda)

Top scorers

Girls: Resty Nanangwe (Uganda)

Boys: Dylan Kayijuka (Rwanda)

Top rebounders

Girls: Brigitte Nibishaka (Rwanda)

Boys: Patrick Githura (Kenya)

Best three-point shooter

Girls: Brigitte Nabishaka (Rwanda)

Boys: Ryan Otieno (Kenya)