The 17th Ashraf Lodewyk Memorial Basketball tournament returns with ten more teams vying for the win.
The Wits Bucks (first team) put on a stellar performance in their first Ashraf basketball tournament game on Wednesday afternoon, April 26.
The Wits Bucks faced off against Wanderers Scorpions Omega and led the game comfortably from the beginning with a thrilling win of 67-28 when the final whistle blew.
Scorpions Omega’s Ethan Murray was substituted after committing three fouls in the first half of the game. Assistant coach, Thabo Gumede said that he felt like there was a lack of communication and defence on their end.
Wits Bucks player Jacques Mahanga said, “I feel like their [Scorpions Omega] performance was really good; we didn’t underestimate the team although we knew that we’re not at the same level-we still came out with a lot of intensity, and I love our intensity.”
Wits Bucks fan, Keeyanda Tshipamba said, “It was a very good game for Wits especially in light of their performance in the ICSL internal league, they were not doing so well so this is bringing our spirits up.”
The Bucks are not anticipating easy games especially since the tournament has grown with a total of ten more teams compared to last year’s 30. Teams compete in either the men’s or women’s division, with a further division into four pools (A to D) which will battle it out over the eight-day tournament.
With four more games to play, the Bucks need to secure the top two positions in their pool to compete in the finals on Monday, May 1.
Young Bucks trailing behind
A few courts away, the Wits Young Bucks (the second team) lost 45-55, in their first game against the Midrand Heat Basketball Club.
A game which was meant to be their comeback against UJ Orange Wave on April 26, ushered in a crushing defeat, with a final score of 19-44.
Going into the second half, UJ was leading 22-11 while Wits player Silas Lyuke, was substituted after a clash with the opponents, leading to a leg injury. The UJ side committed a foul against Matoti Buthelezi and was consequently awarded two free throws, but only netting one.
UJ coach, Mandla Ngema said, “We didn’t play well at all, we thought it was gonna be easy playing against a second team.”
Whilst Wits Young Bucks assistant coach, Angelo Quinn said to Wits Vuvuzela, “I felt it was a good game and a good reflection of the [Ashraf] program and it showed that we can compete at a higher level.”
The Young Bucks have three more games to play in their pool (C) and two of them will be played on Saturday, April 29 against Giant Ballers and University of Pretoria 1st.
FEATURE IMAGE: Wits Bucks players: Tirivashe Gapara, Jacques Mahanga and Chirag Jashi, congratulating each other after their 67-28 win against Wanderers Scorpions Omega. Photo: Sfundo Parakozov
- Wits Vuvuzela, Ashies basketball tournament returns after 2 years, April 2022
- Wits Vuvuzela, Phoenix Flames and Phenomenal Phenoms claim victory in Ashraf Lodewyk tournament, May 2019
- Wits Vuvuzela, Commemorating Ashraf, April 2012