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Pretoria High School League: Willows report – 24/25 April 2009

By on May 8, 2009 in High School


On Friday the 24th of April Willowridge High continued with their league conquest at home against Lyttleton Manor and The Glen respectively.

The first game saw the home teams U/14 A boys take on The Glen High School’s A team. The Glen was still recovering from a thorough walloping by Pretoria Boys High School and came into this game hoping to salvage some pride. Willowridge also needed to stabilise their campaign after a shock loss the previous week so this was expected to be a humdinger. Both teams exchanged possession frequently as they settled into the game. Glen High worked well on offence but the disciplined 2-3 defence by the home team frustrated the visitors as their shots did not fall. Willowridge soon found their stride in the second quarter and began dominating the possession. The half time break was needed by the home team as Coach Dumisani Shongwe took the time to motivate his boys and alter the strategy. This seemed to have worked as the second half saw Willows run away with the game as their fast break proved too much for the visitors. Willows took the game 18-2 and left the Glen with many questions as to their possibilities of success this season.The U/16 boys faced Manor in a very one-sided game. Willows trailed 6-3 in the first three minutes and one could almost forgive the visitors for believing they were in with a chance. Coach Katlego Malatji called a quick time out which saw the game take a different turn as the Willows train was back on the tracks. Willowridge played man-on-man defence and frustrated Manor with their steals, fast breaks and disciplined offence. The game got boring as Willowridge dominated and gave the bench players a run in this uninspiring game, they emerged victors with a 44-9 score line.

Manor’s first team proved to be the treat of the day as they brought the game to the home team. Tight defence and quick offence saw Willows chase the game as they trailed. Coach Tumi Bapela did not seem fazed as he allowed the starting five to sit out for one half while he gave other players an opportunity to get game time. This should not take away from Manor’s splendid performance which saw the go into the half time break six points up. Willows killed the party in the second half with the introduction of the regular players who took the game by storm and emerged victorious by over 20 points. The Willows boys seem to be on a mission to send all their teams to the finals this year.


On Saturday the 25th Willows hosted games in the ladies division on their home courts. The event was well organised although teams that did not show up caused long periods of sitting around and waiting.

The home teams U/14 A girls were hoping to continue their good form against PHSG’s B team. The game started of quick with Willows playing man defence and Girls High countering with breakaway attacks. PHSG took the lead early and frustrated Willowridge with good screens on offence. Coach Keitumetsi Bopape ensured that her girls kept up the intensity and didn’t give away an inch of space. Willows seemed to lack ideas on offence and Girls High capitalised with fast breaks but failed to convert the lay up’s. PHSG went into the break leading by 2 points. Willows came back a more resilient side and executed the man-on-man with discipline and precision. Willowridge squandered various opportunities on offence as their posts failed to use the backboard effectively. In the end Willows picked themselves up to take the game 14 – 8.

Yet again Willows U/16 B team failed to pitch up for the game and they suffered yet another forfeit against girls high A team. The few B team players who did pitch joined up with a few A team players to play a friendly against PHSG which Willows won by 11-8. Is this an indication of things to come? Only time will tell.

The pick of the day was definitely the first team game between Willowridge and PHSG. Everybody expected the outcome to be a foregone conclusion and the question was ‘how much will Girls High win by?’ Much to the delight of the home crowd this suspicion was blown out of the water as Willows came out with guns blazing. The first quarter was very slow paced as Willows stood their ground on defence and Girls High failed to find clear shots.  Willowridge ladies were forcing PHSG to make plenty of turnovers with good defence and an in your face approach. But the visitors were making their task even harder by missing lay ups and not controlling their defensive rebounds. Willows, led by Cherryl Hlatshwayo were playing at a high tempo and causing problems in the post. The face on some of the Girls High fans was that of disbelief as the game was a close one throughout, leading to fears that there was an upset on the cards. As the game went into the last quarter, PHSG were up by one basket and judging by the mistakes that they were making Willows were still in it with a great chance.

So Willows came into the last quarter one basket down and with a lot of hope as they had managed to hold their rivals thus far in the game. The game was fast paced and willows soon found themselves in the lead against a girls high team that was becoming increasingly frustrated. Cherryl Hlatshwayo took responsibility into her own hands as she drove to the basket drawing vital fouls for her team. Willows four point lead had them believing that they had the game in the bag in the last two minutes but Modiegi Mokoka was having none of it as she took lethal jump shots that spurred her team back into the game, it was her shot which levelled the game at 29-29 with 30 seconds to go. Willowridge wasted a glorious opportunity to seal the game as they had possession in the last 30 seconds of the game but failed to use the time wisely. The point guard rushed the ball to the basket and missed a layup which almost cost her team as Thuli Keupilwe dished the fast break to Mapitso Makena with 3 seconds remaining. Mapitso’s footwork failed her as she went to the ground and hurt her shoulder.

Overtime saw both teams play cautiously on defence and with urgency on offence. PHSG was not as cautious as two of its players (Mokoka and Keupilwe) fouled out with 4 minutes remaining. This was not before Mokoka dropped another dagger which saw Girls High take the lead by a basket. All the squandered opportunities by Willowridge on offence ended up costing them as the failed to convert a single basket in the O.T period. Willowridge lost the game 31-29, a game which they should have truly won as they played a more disciplined game.

The media, Mybasketball in particular was well taken care of at Willowridge and let’s hope that other schools follow suit.

Other results:

Bees vs Glen U/14 B – 39 – 0 to Bees

Bees vs PHSG U/16 B – girls high won by 3 points

Rosina beat girls high seconds

Girls high U/14 A beat Glen U/14 A

Article written by Katlego Malatji and edited by Victor Shakineza

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