Hosts GHS end tourney as victors

2012-08-28 00:00

THE annual Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School Invitational Basketball Tournament held at the GHS and St John’s indoor sports centres was a great showpiece for girls’ sport and basketball in particular.

No fewer than 22 teams from across the country were entered, culminating in the GHS first team emerging as tournament champions after defeating Bloemfontein’s Lereko High 44-27 in the title match. Third place went to Ridge Park College of Durban, who defeated St John’s for bronze.

With two pools in both the A and B sections, a round-robin and cross-pool play-offs was the format. Losing 2011 finalists Pretoria High School for Girls had two tough pool matches, losing 34-44 to Ridge Park College, but almost upsetting pool leaders Lereko, losing 28-29 in the dying seconds. In the other A-section pool, PMB Girls’ High School had convincing wins to take them through to the semis. St John’s also had a fairly safe passage through to the semi-finals.

Alex, Epworth and the GHS second teams provided tough opposition for their opponents. Alex lost 30-33 to The Glen and 21-22 to Redhill; GHS seconds narrowly beat Epworth 34-30; and Epworth were within 10 points of both Pretoria and Ridge Park College.

The B section was dominated by the St Anne’s and The Wykeham Collegiate first teams. Their toughest opposition came from the GHS junior teams. TWC beat GHS thirds 18-13, while St Anne’s beat GHS fourth team 28-22. The final of the B-section was very exciting, with the lead changing hands right up to the last seconds. TWC eventually won 26-25 with Buhle Dubazane of TWC (12 points) and Ndzelani Mamba of St Anne’s (10 points) in prolific form. GHS fourths ended in third spot beating GHS thirds 20-14.

The semi-finals and finals of the A-section were hotly contested. St John’s put up a good fight against Lereko before going down 32-52. Kelly Donaldson and Natalie Esteves were the top scorers from St John’s with Neo Setenane and Nonti Ndamoyi featuring for Lereko. In the Ridge Park-GHS clash, the superior defensive play of GHS saw them emerge 28-20 winners. Towards the end of the match, Ridge Park had three players in foul trouble and GHS scored six consecutive free-throws. Hard-working GHS captain Bantwana Zulu was injured during the course of the game and could not take any further part in the tournament.

In the final, GHS were able to neutralise the Lereko team’s free-scoring ability, limiting the Bloemfontein side to only one three-pointer, though they attempted many. Nonjabulo Sithole (GHS) had an excellent game, scoring 24 points and working tirelessly on defence. Lethu Moseya continually broke down Lereko’s offence and also contributed well to the final score of 44-27. The depth of the GHS team was highlighted in this match as all the players had court time against a very tired Lereko team who had relied solely on their top six players throughout the tournament. Young players Cebile Zikalala, Nolwazi Hlabangani and Kwezi Myeni, among others, showed that GHS has great potential for the future.

At the prize giving, GHS firsts won the Save Championship Trophy. All Star Awards went to Fundiswa Ngcobo (Ridge Park College), Neo Setenane and Nonti Ndamoyi (Lereko High), and Cebile Zikalala and Nonjabulo Sithole (PMB GHS). The Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the tournament was Lethu Moseya (PMB GHS).

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