The Rhodes University basketball teams competed against Fort Hare University on Friday 13 May in an attempt to qualify for the University Sports South Africa (USSA) Nationals to be held later this year.
Both teams lost only by a small margin and failed to qualify for a position to play at nationals in July. The women’s game resulted in a 36-37 loss while the men’s team lost 44-46.
Although both teams lost, the energy on the courts was heightened throughout and it was clear that the Titans never lost their hopes on winning until the final whistle was blown.
The evening began first with the women’s team. Although the first half was somewhat less promising for the Titans, they had a good come back after half time and scored a two pointer just minutes into the second half and the game seemed to go much faster from then onwards when the Titans started scoring more two pointers and getting more points on free throws.
The Rhodes women’s team played a strong game with Fort Hare only catching up towards the end of the game. Man-on-man defence was used by both teams and this strategy seems to have worked well for the. The Rhodes women’s team also exhibited great rebounding skills which gave them more opportunities to score goals after failed attempts at shooting. The energy of the Rhodes Titans continued to increase especially at the last moments of the game where there was more pressure on them to defeat the Fort Hare women’s team.
The men’s game was similar to the women’s game in that the skills and the sustained energy of the team set them to have a good chance at winning. However, the Rhodes Titans men’s team lost by only two points to the Fort Hare men’s team.
Both teams were supported by a crowd which occupied all the benches at Alec Mullins with excitement in the air as the crowd continued to cheer right to the end of the game.
Words by Sibusiso Ngwila