South Africa's basketball community

GBL 2009 season kicks off with a bang

By on March 12, 2009 in League

As you walked into the Hall at the University of Witwatersrand, you were greeted by noise from all corners and people being entertained by some basketball action and the dancing taking place. Not forgetting the beautiful people roaming around.

The Wits Hall 29 was also dressed for the occasion with banners everywhere, VIP section with food aplenty, shot clock system, computers in every direction, helpful ladies and bouncers at the door that were there to make sure that everyone behaved and got their monies worth. Some of the banners on show were the ESPN, Channel O, Darkchild, Gauteng basketball, AND. With camera crews doing the rounds from Supersport and Yfm, it was bound to attract plenty of coverage for the event sponsors. Basketball South Africa (BSA) top brass also made an appearance and it was nice to finally see the board in flesh at such an event.

The day started with D1 games for both men and women which were more competitive than anticipated. By the looks of it, teams have gone all out to recruit and strengthen for this season of basketball. If you think that D1 is a retirement village for former basketball players, you have something else coming. There were blocks, dunks, fastbreak and amazing intensity in these games to get the season going. Some in the crowd were under the impression that it was all in the sake of exhibition but the players on the court knew that it was for the points that they were balling for so there was no inch spared.D1 results for 8/03/2009:

VUT 2nd team 37 – 32 Braamfontein Blues – ladies D1

Soweto Raptors 50 – 40 Monash – Men D1

VUT Alumni 76 – 61 Momentum – Men D1

Scorpions 49 – 54 AIA – Men D1

Talking about the crowd management, the GBL management crew was on hand to deal with any issue and at every turn you were greeted by Cabby making sure that you were ok or Tshiamo telling you about the long road to this final production. Manny was a man on a mission trying to be at different places at the same time while Peter was checking to make sure that the technical side of things was working smoothly and on a big day like this so much could have gone wrong but so much went right.

After the D1 games we were greeted by the dancing part of the day, all part of the Urban Dance Competition, which was introduced by DJ Lee. Some of the groups had put in a lot of work into their act and with the camera lenses solely focused on them; it was time to get the show on the road. The UDC competition is going to be hot this year judging by some of the performances… With the crowd cheering to their favorite tunes, and most dancers moving in harmony it was pleasing to see at times. Channel O brought out the big guns for this event and the performances of the groups will get better as the season progresses.

Soweto Raptors vs. Mamelodi Bees – Ladies Premier

Finally the first part of the main event featured the ladies premier match between the Soweto Raptors and Mamelodi Bees. Before this game, both teams were missing some of their regular players due to various reasons (national duty, marriage, pregnancies and work) but they were both willing to compete to the final whistle. With the introduction of the 24 second clock most teams will have to adjust their games and strategies going forward, but in this game it was a non factor with both teams getting the shots off well in time. Both teams made plenty of turnovers and this was maybe due to the fact that the fitness levels were not up to scratch. In the end it wasn’t a spectacular game, and the team that made the fewer mistakes won on the day. For Raptors, Cleopatra Motholo was the main threat leading the team in scoring and rebounding but her efforts were not enough to overcome their more experienced counterparts. Mamelodi Bees triumphed with the help of some big buckets down the stretch from their post player Lebo Mashao who led the team in scoring and rebounds.

Game Stats:

  1. Overall game stats
  2. Game Leaders stats

Final score: Soweto Raptors 39 – 43 Mamelodi Bees

Wits Alumni vs. Egoli Magic – Men Premier

The second part of the main event featured the rivalry match between Wits Alumni and Egoli Magic. With Egoli having strengthened in all departments (recruited Quentin Denyssen, Wisani Chauke, Toka Motaung, etc…) and it was going to be interesting to see how the various parts fit to make a whole. Wits Alumni came into the game on a high after having won the last encounter between the 2 teams in 2008 but this is a year where new resolutions are made so past encounters were non factors. Both teams were sloppy in the first period of the game making hideous mistakes and too many turnovers but Egoli through some enterprising play from Quentin were in the lead early. They led thorough most the game with this lead getting as big as 26 points at one stage.

Alumni only found their feet in the second half of the game where Mboshi and Tsakane stepped up a little. Highlight of the game was Tsakanes’ tip-toe dunk on Patrick from Egoli that got the crowd roaring and jumping in approval. Throughout the game, Egoli Magic outrebounded Wits Alumni who were not aggressive enough on the board and were giving away second chances to the offensively minded Egoli. “It was the first time the guys got together as a full team and with new players in the team, it will take us a month to get back up” said Wits Alumni coach, Lebo Maepa. For Egoli, Quentin made a total of 29 points and 12 rebounds while Joseph had 33 points; this makes Joseph the leading scorer in the league thus far.

Game Stats:

  1. Overall game stats
  2. Game leaders stats

Final score: Wits Alumni 75 – Egoli Magic 93

Article by Victor Shakineza

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