Watertight defence gives Madibaz edge in basketball tournament

By Coetzee Gouws    30-May-2024 11:05 UTC+02:00

The Madibaz women’s team celebrate their victory in the Zanele “Doopsy” Memorial Tournament basketball tournament played recently in Gqeberha. Madibaz beat Gemineyez 41-35 in the final in Motherwell. Photo: Supplied

The Madibaz women’s basketball team relied on a watertight defence to win the Zanele “Doopsy” Memorial Tournament in Gqeberha over the weekend.

The event in Motherwell was established last year as a tribute to the late Zanele Ncipa, who had been instrumental in the development of both basketball and netball in the Nelson Mandela Bay township.

Four teams contested the second edition and though the Mandela University students lifted the trophy, they had to fight hard for it.

They qualified for the final against Gemineyez with victories over Hustlers and PE Comets, respectively.

The Madibaz started the final slowly but eventually found their rhythm to emerge 41-35 victors in a competitive encounter.

Gemineyez, who had beaten the students in last year’s final, led 12-18 at halftime but were unable to keep their opponents at bay in the second stanza.

According to coach Moreblessing Ngwenya, her charges were particularly good defensively and “resilient under pressure” in the fourth quarter.

They started gelling in the second half and were able to force rebounds on defence and then push the ball down court to claim several easy points.

Going back to basics on defence had been key to their success, Ngwenya emphasised.

“Our starting five were special.”

Paballo Rampou and Noluthando Yaka were “boxing out of defence and getting rebounds” for point guard Shadi Molope, who organised the offence.

This gave guard Clementine Nkuna the freedom to land some timely shots to keep Madibaz in the game.

Ngwenya gave a special mention to defender Setha Shezi, who operated like a thief in the night to create steals that led to points and saw her voted the most valuable player of the tournament.

Earlier, Madibaz made a sluggish start against Hustlers. They trailed 8-13 at halftime before lifting their game in offence and defence to churn out a 29-19 victory.

They maintained that momentum in the second match, against PE Comets, to lead 28-18 at the halfway stage before holding them to a 42-30 victory.

“It was an amazing team win,” Ngwenya, who hoped that these results would have a positive spin-off for the sport at the institution, said.

“After winning their second match, they sensed that this was their chance to win the tournament and became determined to maintain their unbeaten run.”

With it being a relatively small sports code at Mandela University, the management team are focused on increasing the numbers to establish a basketball culture at the institution.

Despite needing to work on several aspects of their game, Ngwenya said the result would give them heart for upcoming events.

“We will take some positives from this to keep building chemistry within the team.”

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