Rwanda’s junior basketball team suffered their first defeat at the FIBA U18 Africa Championship on Sunday in Bamako, Mali.
In one of the thrilling games, Angola the defending champions snatched victory by 80-79 points over never say-die Rwandan side.
The first 1st quarter ended in a tango Rwanda 13-14 Angola; going into the second quarter Angola led by a 7 point difference to lead 25-18.
The thirty quarter become crunchy as Rwanda was not ready to give reducreduing double digit deficit to 4-point 69-73. .
The 4th quarter was a thrilling moment, with lovely steals, excellent lay-ups and for basketball it was good.
Rwanda’s Elias Ngoga, one of the top performers in the tournament so far, hit a three-pointer with 31 seconds left to cut the deficit to 79-74.
His teammate Emile Kazeneza, as cool as ice, received an inbound pass to hit yet another three-pointer and leave the Angolans two points up 79-77 with 19 seconds left.
However, Rwanda missed a free throw with 3 sec’s left evenutally the game stayed 77-79 as the defending champions prevailed.
Rwanda’s Emile Galois Kazeneza managed a game high 18 points, 14 rebounds and I assist while Elais Ngoga contributed 18 points, two steals and one block.
However, the highlight of the game was clearly Rwanda’s tenacity and determination to remind everyone that they can’t be taken lightly.
Rwanda has established an event record of eleven three-pointers in an 81-63 triumph over Algeria, to clinch their second straight win in Bamako. The boys knocked down title contender Tunisia 62-58.
And much of Rwanda’s success was owed to Jean de Dieu Umuhoza, who came up with yet another stellar display, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
The team returns to action on Wednesday after a break on Tuesday against Senegal.
By: Jejje Muhinde