PMB girls make great showing at basketball event

2010-08-17 00:00

THERE was an action-packed weekend of schoolgirls’ basketball at the St John’s and Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High courts when 19 teams from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng and the Free State took part in the annual GHS Invitation Tournament.

The outcome of the tournament showed that girls’ basketball is alive and well in KZN, and more especially in Pietermaritzburg.

There were three A-section pools and a B-section. After a hectic schedule of round-robin matches, the teams moved into the play-off stages based on their previous results. Three of the Pietermaritzburg schools qualified for the top pool.

Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High first Team headed their pool after some fantastic first-round results. In their four matches against Maritzburg Christian School, Alexandra High, Willowridge and Durban Girls’ High, the GHS team amassed a total of 318 points for and only 20 against.

Epworth were the winners of Pool B, with wins over GHS B, St Mary’s DSG, The Glen, and a loss against a rapidly improving Edu-College of Welkom. The third pool was won by Pretoria High School for Girls, who narrowly beat St John’s 23-20. St John’s also qualified for the top pool as the best second-placed team.

The other play-off sections were: (5-8) GHS B, Lereko A, DSG and Willowridge; (9-12) Danville A, Edu-College, Alex and Durban Girls’ High; (13-16) The Glen, MCS and the top B-section Teams: GHS Juniors and Grace College. Lereko A, of Bloemfontein, ended in fifth position after two good wins over GHS B (sixth) and DSG (seventh). Willowridge finished in eighth spot. In positions 9-12, Edu-College caused their second upset when they beat Danville A 57-56 in the dying seconds of the match and Alex avenged their earlier defeat by Durban Girls’ High with a 29-23 win. GHS Juniors won the B section with wins over runners-up, Grace College, and Eshowe, Lereko Juniors and Danville Juniors.

In the play-offs for the first four spots, GHS first defeated St John’s 74-24, with Pretoria HSG beating a tiring Epworth team 31-25.

Epworth had a five-point lead during the match, but gave away possession too easily and allowed Pretoria to bounce back.

They nearly gave the bronze medal to St John’s as they squandered a 12-point lead to win by two points. It was a match of quarters. St John’s started well and led 4-0 at the first break.

Epworth bounced back and took an 11-4 lead. St John’s attempted to get back into the game with some three-point shooting by Shorty Ndlela and Lihle Bhengu, but Epworth continued to apply pressure and with one quarter to go had a 22-10 lead.

The tables turned in the fourth quarter and Epworth could not believe it as their lead dwindled.

Both coaches, J Myeza and T Chidzawo, called time-outs in the last minute of the game in an attempt to keep their players focused on a win. Epworth managed to hold onto their slender lead and narrowly won 28-26. Sisi Khubeka and Yolande Temba were the top scorers for Epworth.

The final between old rivals Pretoria High School for Girls and Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High was an exhibition of two very different styles of play. The composed GHS team took an early lead and went into the first break 19-2 ahead.

Pretoria staged a bit of a comeback in the second quarter, with some very aggressive defence, but the half-time score, 33-11, was still well in PMB GHS’s favour.

Two three-pointers by the Pretoria top scorer, Adelaide Mosala (13 points), was an indication that they were still in the game.

However, they were soon in trouble when two of their players were sent off with five fouls, including intentional fouls.

In the fourth quarter, PMB GHS moved up a gear and with some hard, fast-break running quickly added 22 points to their tally.

The 71-31 win by the top local school, Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High, was the result of good team play, with the most consistent shooters on the day being Sbahle Mkhize (nine points), Nobubele Phuza (12 points) and Thando Ndlovu (15 points). The rest of the team scored the other 35 points.

The tournament was an excellent showcase of local basketball talent.

Of the top six teams, four were from Pietermaritzburg: PMB Girls’ High School A (first), Epworth (third), St John’s (fourth) and PMB Girls’ High B (sixth).

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