Home Sports Rivers Hoopers see off APR to earn consecutive BAL victories

Rivers Hoopers see off APR to earn consecutive BAL victories



Five-time Nigerian Champions, Rivers Hoopers, reached a new milestone at the ongoing 2024 Basketball Africa League (BAL) by defeating Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) 86-82 to become the first Nigerian team to win consecutive games at the BAL.

A day after their victory over home team and 2023 BAL runners-up AS Douanes in their Sahara Conference opener, the KingsMen showed good quality, great composure, and incredible game management to steer clear of a resilient APR team which came into the encounter brimming with confidence after they had stunned former champions US Monastir of Tunisia following an overtime victory in their opening fixture.

APR were purposeful in possession and scored the first points in what turned out to be a tightly contested encounter, but Will Perry responded straight away for the Hoopers with a well-timed layup to even the scores. The back and forth continued between both teams, and with the KingsMen trailing by 1 point in the final 35 seconds of the 1st quarter, Devine Eke finished off a brilliant alley-oop in transition after being found by a great floating pass from Kelvin Amayo to put Rivers Hoopers in front by 1 point with the scores at 19-18 to end the first quarter.

Both teams continued to play with freedom up front while maintaining good defense, with Hoopers opening a four-point lead inside the first five minutes of the second quarter, but APR rallied back to tie the game at 40-all with the last play at the end of the second quarter to ensure that both teams went into the break all squared.

The game remained a close affair, which saw the lead change hands at least six times by the opening three minutes of the third quarter, but Rivers Hoopers once again put their noses in front with the scores at 63-62 heading into the fourth.

The KingsMen took the fight to their Rwandan counterparts and raced into a 10-point lead (the game’s biggest lead) with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, just as in their opening day victory over US Monastir, APR rallied back to reduce the deficit, although it was too little too late as Will Perry converted two late free throws to seal an 86-82 victory for Rivers Hoopers.

Those two late free throws contributed to a team-leading 31 points overall for Will Perry, who played every second of the encounter, going 4/4 from free throws while also shooting a game-high 7/13 from 3-point range. Perry also had 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals and was named the game’s top performer.

Just as he did in Game 1 against AS Douanes, Kelvin Amayo once again led the game in assists, with 7 to his name, along with 13 points and 3 steals. Game one’s top performer, Devine Eke, finished with 19 points and a game-high 8 rebounds, tied with Hoopers’ NBA Africa Academy/BAL Elevate player David Ike, who put up an impressive showing. Peter Olisemeka finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds, while John Wilkins made 9 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals.

The win means Rivers Hoopers, who came into the 2024 BAL with a 1-2 (win-lose) record from their previous appearance at the inaugural edition of the tournament, have now won consecutive BAL games for the first time, improving to 2-0 for the season and 3-2 overall.

The KingsMen will next face former champions US Monastir of Tunisia at 5pm on Tuesday, 7th May.




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