Agoro Sare Boys, Ng’iya Girls top in Eliud Owalo Foundation Basketball Cup

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 02:50 | By
Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo (right) hands over a winners’ trophy to Agoro Sare captain after the team won the Eliud Owalo Basketball tournament at the weekend. PHOTO/ SPORTPICHA

In an electrifying display of talent and sportsmanship, Agoro Sare Boys and Ng’iya Girls emerged as the champions of the inaugural Eliud Owalo Foundation Basketball Tournament, held over the weekend. The monumental event showcased the prowess of 26 teams from six counties in Nyanza, involving 390 students and supported by 14 sponsors. The tournament, held across four venues, captivated audiences and left an indelible mark on the basketball landscape.

Agoro Sare Boys and Ng’iya Girls secured their victories through hard-fought battles, earning not only certificates of participation, medals, uniforms, and trophies but also substantial cash prizes. Each participating team received Sh 20,000 in cash and Sh 7,500 worth of Safaricom airtime, while the winning teams took home a grand prize of Sh 50,000.

The outstanding organization and seamless execution of the tournament left players, coaches, and fans in awe. Eliud Owalo Foundation’s patron, ICT Cabinet Secretary Eliud Owalo, expressed his commitment to making the Basketball Tournament an annual spectacle, promising more excitement in the years to come.

Onjiko Captain Dennis Oluoch voiced his enthusiasm, stating, “We are excited at what the CS has done. This event has gained a lot going into our regional finals. It helped us.” MVP and Ng’iya Captain, Patience Cindy, echoed the sentiment, saying, “Hard work pays. Nobody gave us a chance but here we are tops after beating every team, including the county champions. We thank the foundation for giving us a chance to participate.”

Meanwhile, Toronto Raptors tandem of RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley scored 23 and 22 points respectively in a 111-106 victory over Charlotte Hornets on Sunday evening. Toronto were without All-Star Scottie Barnes, who fractured his left middle finger in Friday night’s loss against Golden State. The 2022 Rookie of the Year is out indefinitely and led the team in all statistical categories with points (1,191), rebounds (494), assists (363), blocks (88) and steals (75). In Barnes’ absence, Barrett stepped up to finish with a team-high 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. The 23-year-old Canadian also finished 3-for-6 from three, his fifth straight game of multiple makes from beyond the arc. 24-year-old Quickley also contributed with 22 points, 11 assists, and seven rebounds. Since the All-Star game, the former Knicks guard is averaging 21.5 points, 6.8 assists, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.0 threes made on 43.6 percent shooting.

Raptors head coach Darko Rajokovic shared the advice he gave the duo before the game. “Don’t think that you got to do more now that Scottie is not there. You guys are both great players and you’re gonna get your shots in the game,” said Rajokovic in the post-game press conference. “Just allow it to come naturally and make sure we have good ball movement.” After trailing 29-27 after the opening frame, the Raptors took control of the game after regaining the lead in the middle of the second quarter. The lead was extended to as much as 15 before the Hornets went on a 14-2 run to take a brief one-point lead in the final minute of the fourth. Toronto’s defense along with clutch free throws from Quickley, who nailed six straight in the final minute of play, put the game out of reach for Charlotte. The Raptors got 17 points from Gary Trent Jr, who drilled three threes. Second-year guard Ochai Agbaji, who started in place of Barnes, had 13 points and a career-best nine rebounds. The Raptors also got contributions off the bench from Jordan Nwora and rookie Gradey Dick, who finished with 11 points apiece.

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