Basketball: Hoopers Start Season With Defeat Against Customs
Rivers Hoopers were out-played and out-shot from the three-point range losing to Nigeria Customs 60-49 at the Indoor Sports Hall, National Stadium Lagos on Thursday.
Despite falling to Customs, former Customs power forward, Solomon Ajegbeyi scored 10 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists delivering consecutive baskets in the first but not enough to salvage the loss to Customs.
Ikechukwu Benjamin’s jumper before the buzzer ended the first quarter (15-19). The Port Harcourt side produced a brilliant first half performance looking ready to go for the kill in the second half but was brilliantly guarded by the Customs defense in the third quarter.
Customs guard, Okiki Afuwapa Michael who was their best player finished with a game high 25 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists.
Okiki’s shooting pushed Customs to the lead and in over 4 minutes of play, Hoopers couldn’t score leaving the host to their biggest score run(9-0) in 6:22. The two time champions were left with series of missed shots and turnovers.
The KingsMen got a huge performance off the bench from former Mentors guard, Friday Haruna who tried to outpace Okiki but was let down by the team’s turnovers (23) , missed buckets and a great defense from the host.
Hoopers trailed in the final quarter 52-46 for over five minutes and once again fell short of the baskets (0/10) hitting just 7 of their shots with less than 2 minutes remaining (1:34) in the last quarter.
The loss to Nigeria Customs is the 6th out of the 7 games played between the two sides in two seasons which is also a repeat of last season’s league opener where the former champions also lost in Lagos to Customs.
Hoopers will next play Police Baton on Saturday also in Lagos