Rwanda U18 Girls Secure First Win at FIBA Zone V Africa Qualifiers

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Rwanda U18 girls beat Kenya 56-47 in qualifiers.
Rwanda ended losing streak after two initial defeats.
Brigitte Nibishaka scored 27 points and 8 rebounds.
Victory keeps Rwanda’s hopes alive for continental representation.

Rwanda 56-47 Kenya

The Rwanda U18 girls’ basketball team celebrated a crucial victory against Kenya, breaking their losing streak in the U18 FIBA Zone V Africa qualifiers. The match, held at the Lugogo Indoor Stadium in Uganda, saw Rwanda triumph with a score of 56-47, marking their first win in the tournament.

A Tough Start

The team had a challenging start to the qualifiers, suffering defeats in their initial matches against Uganda and Tanzania. These losses put the team in a difficult position, but they remained determined and focused on turning their fortunes around. Their resilience and hard work paid off in their third match against Kenya.

Dominating the Court

From the onset, Rwanda’s young talents showcased their skills and determination. They dominated the first quarter with a remarkable 21-9 lead. The second quarter saw Rwanda extend their advantage, finishing the half with a 38-25 lead after winning the quarter 17-16. This strong start set the tone for the rest of the game, giving Rwanda the confidence they needed to push forward.

Holding the Lead

The third quarter continued in Rwanda’s favor, ending with a 15-14 scoreline. Despite a slight dip in performance in the final quarter, where Kenya outscored them 8-3, Rwanda’s lead was substantial enough to secure the victory. This win was not only a morale booster but also a testament to the team’s ability to perform under pressure.

Standout Performances

The standout player for Rwanda was Brigitte Nibishaka, who delivered an exceptional performance with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Her contribution was pivotal in securing the win for her team. Alongside her, Rachel Gikundiro and Vestine Tuyisenge added 8 and 5 points, respectively, demonstrating the team’s depth and collaborative effort. On the Kenyan side, Violet Atieno Okundi was a key player, scoring 15 points, but her efforts were not enough to turn the game around.

Looking Ahead

This victory is crucial for Rwanda as the competition aims to determine which countries will represent the East African region at the FIBA continental showpiece. The win against Kenya keeps Rwanda’s hopes alive in the tournament and provides a foundation to build upon for their upcoming matches. The team’s performance indicates their potential to compete at a higher level and make a mark in the continental championships.

Challenges and Opportunities

Rwanda’s journey in the U18 FIBA Zone V Africa qualifiers highlights both the challenges and opportunities in youth sports development. The initial setbacks against Uganda and Tanzania underscored the competitive nature of the tournament and the need for consistent performance. However, the victory against Kenya illustrates the importance of resilience, teamwork, and strategic play.

The Road to Continental Representation

The ultimate goal for Rwanda is to secure a spot in the FIBA continental championships, a prestigious platform that can significantly impact the future of the players and the national basketball program. Success in this tournament not only boosts the team’s confidence but also inspires young athletes back home to pursue basketball with passion and dedication.

Key Performance

Brigitte Nibishaka excelled with an impressive 27 points and 8 rebounds, leading Rwanda’s victory.
Rachel Gikundiro contributed significantly with 8 points, supporting Rwanda’s dominant performance against Kenya.
Kenya’s Violet Atieno Okundi stood out with 15 points, despite her team’s overall defeat.

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