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Ashraf tournament 2010 low down

By on April 27, 2010 in News

Last week Wits University remembered one of its fallen heroes with the annual Ashraf tournament. For the first time in a long time the tournament was very well attended, maybe an indication that the basketball public and players are starving for some local action in Gauteng.

Some of the interesting clashes in the preliminary rounds of the tournament included the game between Wanderers Scorpions vs. Soweto Raptors (Ladies) and TUT Limpopo vs. UJ (Men). Scorpions looked like a totally revamped team that can now challenge some of their more renowned opponents and they beat Raptors by 4 points with Emma Ledwaba doing the business down the line. In the men section, TUT Limpopo almost upset UJ with a close encounter that could have gone either way. Notable mentions must go to Jerry for the entertainment he provided with his dunks over some of the UJ boys and the fact that his team was playing without a coach speaks volume for their dedication.In the men’s semi finals, Egoli came face to face with UJ and in another close encounter they beat their younger opponents by 2 points. In a game that was dominated by the 3 point shot, Thabo Letsebe and Lucky Loate carried the torch for UJ while Egoli had Sifiso Ngcobo, Tsakani Ngobeni and Quintin Denyssen playing the controlled game throughout. Final score: Egoli 70 – 68 UJ

In the other semi final, VUT made easy work of their Swazi opponents the Jazz. They had a 26 point lead with one minute left in the 2nd quarter and coach Flosch was already using his bench. VUT played man on man the whole tournament and against a team with a decent point guard they quickly shut down that threat. Final score: VUT 59 – 29 Jazz

On the final day of the tournament, spectators were treated to some drama and wonderful basketball. There was the impossible comeback from VUT ladies to win the game against UJ ladies after being 15 points down then there was the blowout by VUT over their more experienced Egoli opponents in what was almost like a passing of the torch from the older generation to the upcoming stars.

The ladies final was a one sided affair until the 4th quarter with everyone in the stands thinking it was a foregone conclusion with UJ in the lead for most of the game. That was until Requelh Molema (VUT 9) decided that enough was enough and she decided to take the game over by capitalizing on some complacent defending from UJ. With a lot of new faces trying to gel as a unit for UJ, the coach Mandla was using this tournament as a way to get his charges ready for the USSA qualifiers. UJ must look at themselves to figure out how they lost this game because they had enough opportunities to put this one to bed. Even with 49.6 seconds left they were leading by 3 points but they still couldn’t close it out. Requelh made a basket and then fouled out. With 10.8 seconds left, UJ had a one point lead but missed the chance to extend their lead by not converting 2 FT. And they were made to pay as in their next possession VUT 8 made them pay for some slack defending by converting a second chance opportunity and making a layup to win the game for VUT. Final score: VUT 67 – 66 UJ

In another titanic battle between Egoli Magic and VUT, the men final began with energy and excitement that had Wits Hall 29 packed with an expecting crowd. Quarter one and two belonged to Egoli but after that they began to fall to piece literally and figuratively. For Egoli, the first half was about the “Silent killer” Tsakane doing the damage on the floor with some good offense and defense. At half time, Egoli were up by 9 points but they knew it was far from over.

As always VUT was playing man on man in what had been the theme for the tournament. And the plan to get Egoli tired worked as they couldn’t keep up with the uptempo of their younger upstarts.  VUT came out like a house on fire with 6 points from Egoli turnovers and at the end of the quarter they were up by 2 points having overturned the deficit. At the end of Q3 the score was 45 – 43 to VUT. Then the wheels came off for Egoli, they were blown away by a much younger, fitter and hungrier group of players. VUT players ran ragged with dunks, And1 tricks and blocks galore in a statement that had everyone take notice. The fact that Egoli only scored 6 points in the final quarter speaks volume about VUT’s defence and the moral of the Egoli players in the last quarter. The final score: VUT 78 – 49 Egoli.

All in all it was one of the best Ashraf tournament and a great occasion to honour a player that had basketball pumping through his veins. His family must have appreciated the gesture even more.

Article by Victor Shakineza

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