Espoir set new record

Espoir basketball club have set a record as the first team in Rwanda to win two back to back league titles without losing a single game over the two seasons.
Aristide Mugabe (#8) and Karekezi (#12) scored 30 points between them as Espoir ended the regular season unbeaten. Times Sport / File.
Aristide Mugabe (#8) and Karekezi (#12) scored 30 points between them as Espoir ended the regular season unbeaten. Times Sport / File.

Sunday

Rusizi          37-83   Espoir

Saturday

UGB             76-65   CSK

Espoir basketball club have set a record as the first team in Rwanda to win two back to back league titles without losing a single game over the two seasons.

The reigning champions retained the regular season title with unbeaten record after beating closest challengers Rusizi 83-37 on Sunday in Rusizi, Western Province.

Former APR point guard Lionel Hakizikimana scored a game high 17 points and was ably supported by forward Allen Christian Barutanayo, who scored 15 points, while the reigning Most Valuable Player Aristide Mugabe and Pascal Karekezi each added 13 points apiece.

“It is a wonderful achievement,” Espoir’s coach Jean Bahufite told Times Sport by phone from Rusizi soon after the game as he celebrated his historic accomplishment.

The Nyamirambo based side dominated their opponents and ran away with the highest-scoring first quarter 25-4.

The champions were not done as they took the second quarter in almost similar fashion 21-7, and third for 23-10 but Bahufite’s side took their foot off the pedal to allow their rivals get close with a 16-14 in the fourth quarter.

The two-time back to back champions will now go into the Playoffs finals as the top seed ahead of KBC, Rusizi and tentatively United Generation Basketball (UGB).

On Saturday, UGB beat Circle Sportif de Kigali (CSK) 76-65 to claim the fourth and final playoff spot ahead of APR, who were due to play their final league game against bottom side 30-Plus on Sunday.

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