UJ and Tuks delivered a thrilling Varsity Basketball 2019 finale on Sunday afternoon at the Wits Sports Hall in Johannesburg.
The game was played in front of a packed arena, with the two teams delighting the #VarsityBallin fans with back-and-forth action throughout the encounter.
The game started off as expected, with there being very little to choose between the two teams as play got underway in a very cagey manner. By the end of the first quarter Tuks took the honours, narrowly leading 12-9, with still lots of work to be done in the next three. Both the second (18-15) and third (19-17) quarters were once again edged by the Stripe Generation, with UJ however always keeping within touching distance in this epic encounter.
Going into the fourth and final quarter, the deficit was just six points, with Tuks – who failed to reach last year’s semi-finals – still enjoying a lead. The final period however included a well-called Power Play by UJ coach Mandla Ngema with just less than five minutes left. During the two minutes, his charges cut the deficit before then taking control of the game after claiming the lead.
Nonetheless, it was a really tense finish to the match up, with Tuks often failing to send their 3-pointer attempts into the basket, gifting UJ opportunities to counter-attack, adding to their lead. In the end, the buzzer sounded and the Orange Army wore smiles on their faces having clinched the Varsity Basketball honours 64-57 – atoning for their 2018 semi-final heartbreak – to go with their USSA crown.
UJ winning squad: 0 Disase Kabange, *1 Manasse Kabasele, *2 Karabo Likotsi, 3 Junior Landangoye, 8 James Amala, *9 Skhumbuzo Mthembu, *10 Peace Famudimo, *11 Mpumelelo Mahlati, *12 Zett Mutongoza, *13 Trystan Speck (captain), *14 Nathan Baruti, *15 Lance Chikore.
*played in 2018 Varsity Basketball tournament
By S’fiso Nyawo