Even with a slower start, Wits managed to kick up the pace to bag a win against rivals University of Johannesburg.

The Wits University men’s basketball second team secured a crucial 82-70 win against the University of Johannesburg (UJ) at Hall 29 on Sunday morning, August 25.

The largely neck and neck game saw the Wits Young Bucks come out on top, progressing to the quarterfinals of second round of the Gauteng University Basketball League after defeating UJ.

The Young Bucks started slowly in the first and second quarters. During the first quarter Young Bucks steadily trailed behind until a point was scored by player number nine, forward, Storm Menges, with 2:26 minutes until the end of the first quarter, leveling the playing field to a 13-13 tie.

Just 1:39 minutes before the end of the first quarter, number 10, Izera Mohttalal, scored a point to secure Wits’ 16-13 lead. The first quarter ended with a 13-19 lead for Wits following a penalty shot by number 4, Sesli.

During the second quarter UJ gained an advantage early in the game, scoring a penalty shot, as the team played catch up to Wits. Just before the final whistle for the second half, UJ’s Mandla Tshula scored a another penalty shot making the score 18-19 to Wits.

However, the Young Bucks started to dominate the game during the third quarter.

Wits continued to break through UJ’s defence but UJ once again equalised the score at the beginning of the third quarter, when UJ player number 16, Thabang Ogazi, scored 20-19 at 5:35 minutes to go.

UJ maintained their advantage thanks to a number of fouls from Wits. This resulted in multiple penalty shots that scored UJ additional points.

The two teams went back and forth for the lead, but in the end Wits bounced back to dominate the game, with the final 82-70 penalty shot scored in the last seconds of the game by number six, Henry Mandungu.

Samkeliso Dlamini, small forward and number 19 for UJ, said the team’s defence is where they let themselves down.

“We’re still lacking in defence. — at times we were a bit slow., We did well but not enough to win the game”.

Young Bucks captain and forward player, Rekessi Esipisu said Wits must stay focused on keeping consistent pressure throughout their matches.

“Defensively we were lacking until the fourth quarter, where we knocked them down.

“Next week we’re going to have much tougher opposition, so we need to start the game strong. We need to start [and be] focused the whole game,” Esipisu told Wits Vuvuzela.

Young Bucks guard, Simukai Madiro, said the team had a good game but there is room for improvement.

“The third quarter was good. We made a few points we would not have made in the first quarter, but we have to practice keeping our foot on the gas the whole time,” said Madiro.

The Young Bucks face either Northwest University or University of Pretoria next week Saturday, depending on the second division results on August 25.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits University’s second team, Young Bucks, took on UJ to win the game and move on to the quarterfinals on August 25. Photo: Busang Senne.