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Basketball title elusive as Dagoretti's fairy-tale run ends

Saturday August 24 2019

Churchill Odhiambo (left) of Dagoretti High School dribbles past a Buddo Secondary School (Uganda) player during the East Africa Secondary School Games boys' basketball final at Arusha Accountancy College basketball courts, Tanzania on August 24, 2019. PHOTO | BRIAN YONGA |

Churchill Odhiambo (left) of Dagoretti High School dribbles past a Buddo Secondary School (Uganda) player during the East Africa Secondary School Games boys' basketball final at Arusha Accountancy College basketball courts, Tanzania on August 24, 2019. PHOTO | BRIAN YONGA |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

BRIAN YONGA
By BRIAN YONGA
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PHILIP ONYANGO
By PHILIP ONYANGO
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IN ARUSHA, TANZANIA

Kenya Saturday bagged silver in boys' basketball as the 18th edition of the East Africa Secondary School Games came to an end here across different venues.

Newcomers Dagoretti High School came up short as they went down 72-58 to Uganda's Buddo Secondary School in the final at the Arusha Accountancy College basketball court. It means the country's wait to win gold in the discipline continues as Buddo finally claimed the title having lost in the last two finals to Rwanda's ÀPE Rugunga.

Kenya, which was represented in the discipline by Dagoretti and fourth-place finishers Laiser Hill Academy, last tasted success when Upper Hill School won the 2013 title in Lira, Uganda.

Upper Hill would also make the 2015 final in Huye, Rwanda, but fell to ETG Nyakabiga of Burundi before Rugunga won it for three consecutive years.

Dagoretti were determined to put an end to that miserable record by Kenyan sides on Saturday, but were undone by a ruthless Ugandan side who were clinical in their three pointers and won most of the rebounds.

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And Dagoretti skipper Churchill Odhiambo, who led his side with 20 points, admitted that that the difference between the two sides was in conversion.

"We matched them in most of the areas but I think we should have done better in our shooting. That is one area they hurt us but we take pride that on our first appearance at this stage, we made it to the final," Odhiambo said.

"We go back home with lessons and we will improve on the areas of our game that let us down. Next year this team will be stronger and ready to go again for the title," he added.

Buddo coach John Omondi said that experience carried the day for them, but tipped Dagoretti to challenge for the title again next year.

"In the first two quarters, they pressed us well and gave us match. But we were able to capitalise on their lapses and this won the game for us. Hopefully we will play them in the final in Kenya next year, " said Omondi.

Buddo's point guard Peter Cheng Malek had a game-high 19 points and his exploits saw him voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the discipline. Buddo led 12-7 in the opening quarter, but were pinned back 9-12 in the second quarter to carry a slim 21-19 lead at the break.

The last two quarters proved to be the turning point of this final as the Ugandans outscored their Kenyan counterparts 17-13 and 34-26 in third and fourth periods.

Earlier, St Noa Girls' Secondary School won the girls' final after seeing off Ugandan counterparts St Mary's Kitende 73-62 at the same venue. St Noa sealed a memorable double as Fidaus Namuleme won the MVP accolade.

Kenya's Kaya Kiwi Secondary School had on Friday won bronze for Kenya in the discipline after seeing off compatriots Buruburu Girls Secondary 44-43 in the play-off.

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