Hoops: Espoir beat IPRC-South to remain on top

Espoir maintained their flying start to the 2016/17 season after defeating fellow national basketball league title hopefuls IPRC-South 84-63 on Saturday at Amahoro Indoor Stadium to remain on top of the table.

Saturday
Espoir 84-63 IPRC-South
CSK 34-129 IPRC-Kigali

Friday
APR 111-50 30-Plus
REG 57-71 Patriots

Espoir maintained their flying start to the 2016/17 season after defeating fellow national basketball league title hopefuls IPRC-South 84-63 on Saturday at Amahoro Indoor Stadium to remain on top of the table.

It was sweet revenge for the four-time league winners, who lost twice against the Huye-based outfit last season—in the final of the pre-season tournament as well as in the league.

Espoir, led by their captain Olivier Shyaka and Pascal Niyonkuru dominated Charles Mushumba’s team taking the first quarter 22-20 before improving in the second quarter to claim it 22-8.

Maxime Mwizeneza’s side also took the third quarter 19-16 and the fourth quarter 21-19 thus sealing an 84-63 victory, their third in a row.

Shyaka and Niyonkuru contributed a game-high 23 points each to guide the Nyamirambo-based team to victory while IPRC-South’s Bievenue Niyonsaba and Emmanuel Habumugisha each dropped 14 points to their side.

In their first two games, Espoir defeated Cercle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 127-32 before beating struggling 30-Plus, 91-31.

“We have started well but we have to keep in mind that in the first two fixtures, we played against two teams that are expected to struggle this season, so this was our first real big test against a team that will be in the title race,” Espoir coach Mwiseneza said after Saturday’s game.

Mushumba, whose team lost a second game in a row after going down against APR last week, said that; “It is really frustrating to lose two games in a row, it shows that we have a lot to work on both physically and mentally, the good thing is that it is still early.”

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