BAL: Rivers Hoopers’ Bench Heroics Narrow Gap in Tense Showdown Against AS Douanes

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Rivers Hoopers’ bench narrows 22-point deficit late.
AS Douanes dominates first three quarters decisively.
Coach Odaudu benches starters, sparking comeback.
Hoopers’ turnovers undermine efforts despite strong rebound.

Early Struggles for Rivers Hoopers
On Saturday night, AS Douanes and Rivers Hoopers faced off in a highly anticipated match. From the start, it appeared that AS Douanes was set to dominate, leading to a nail-biting conclusion that showcased the depth and resilience of the Hoopers’ bench.

Rivers Hoopers began the game on a high note with Kelvin Mayo scoring the opening points, securing their only lead of the game. However, the Nigerian champions struggled to match the fast-paced offense of AS Douanes. This mismatch was evident as the game progressed, with the Hoopers trailing by as much as 22 points by the end of the third quarter.

A Dominant AS Douanes
Throughout most of the first three quarters, AS Douanes controlled the court. Their dominance was starkly highlighted in the third quarter, where the Hoopers managed a dismal 1-for-13 shooting performance. By the end of the third quarter, AS Douanes had outscored the Hoopers 13-5, creating a seemingly insurmountable lead.

Bold Moves by Coach Odaudu
Faced with a considerable deficit, Rivers Hoopers’ head coach Ogoh Odaudu made a pivotal decision. Recognizing that the starting lineup was struggling to find their rhythm, he opted to bench his starters and give the reserves a chance. This bold move marked a turning point in the game.

Bench Sparks a Comeback
The Hoopers’ bench seized the opportunity with remarkable tenacity. They outscored AS Douanes’ reserves 14-0 in the final quarter, turning what seemed like a foregone conclusion into a fiercely contested battle. The resurgence was led by Johnson Anaiye, whose mid-range jumper cut the deficit to just four points with 25 seconds remaining.

AS Douanes’ Realization
Despite the bench’s efforts, the starting lineup of AS Douanes was reintroduced too late to fully halt the Hoopers’ momentum. AS Douanes forward Madut Akec acknowledged the team’s lapse in concentration: “If we are up by that much we should be locked in; continue to get stops and not just get lazy on defense. Throughout the whole game they didn’t go on a big run, but their biggest run was in the last couple minutes of the game,” remarked the South Sudanese player.

Key Performances and Statistics
Devine Eke was the standout player for Rivers Hoopers, finishing with 11 points – the only Hoopers player to score in double digits. Despite being out-rebounded 56-48, the Hoopers’ 21 turnovers in the first three quarters proved too costly, undermining their overall efforts.

For AS Douanes, Abdoulaye Harouna led the scoring with a game-high 16 points, followed by Madut Akec with 13 points. Their consistent performance throughout the game, particularly in the first three quarters, established a lead that was ultimately unassailable.

Looking Ahead
Both teams head into the Quarter-Finals with identical records of 4-3. The match served as a testament to the unpredictability of basketball and the importance of depth in a team’s lineup. Rivers Hoopers’ bench provided a crucial reminder of the potential for dramatic comebacks, a factor that could play a significant role in their upcoming games.

AS Douanes emerged victorious with a final score of 63-57, the spirited performance by Rivers Hoopers’ bench prevented what could have been a blowout.

Key Performance

Kelvin Mayo opened scoring, securing Hoopers’ only lead.
Johnson Anaiye sparked comeback with crucial mid-range jumper.
Devine Eke led Hoopers with 11 points.
Abdoulaye Harouna top-scored for AS Douanes with 16 points.
Madut Akec contributed 13 points and emphasized defensive focus.

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