Nigeria beat Algeria, set for Tunisia in quarterfinal
Nigeria’s Junior D’Tigers continued their winning run at the ongoing FIBA U-16 African Basketball Championship in Praia, Cape Verde with a comprehensive 75 to 64 win over bottom-placed Algeria in their final group game on Wednesday and are billed to face Tunisia in the quarterfinal.
The Junior D’Tigers took the first quarter 24 to 12 despite having a slow start to the game with the Algerians drawing first blood in the early minutes of the game.
Nigeria maintained their lead in the second quarter, taking the game 15 to 11 points and went into the half time break with a comfortable 16 points lead. The half ended 39-23 in favour of Nigeria.
Small forward Joy Ighovodja was Nigeria’s most efficient player in the first half, making four out of seven of his field throws with a total of eight points, while small forward, Precious Ikpe was the team’s highest scoring player with 11 points.
Although the junior D’Tigers failed to win their last two quarters, losing 16-19 in the third quarter and 20-22 in the last quarter, the business had been done before the half time break.
James Okemirie with 19 points finished as the game’s highest scorer and Nigeria’s most efficient player, scoring nine points out of 13 attempts and also made 14 offensive rebounds and four defensive rebounds in the game.
After the game, head coach of the team, Fubara Onyanabo praised the boys for their doggedness despite having an unusual game. He believes they need to work harder ahead of the quarterfinal games.
“The game had its own dimension, the boys didn’t get into their groove quick enough but when they did in the first and second quarters, they were a joy to watch. But towards the end of the game, their tempo dropped. We will work on that ahead of the quarterfinals.
“For us, the competition just started because our first ambition here is to secure a World Cup ticket, then we can think of the trophy but before then, our main aim for now is to win our next game and win it well.
“Our next opponent is Tunisia and we saw what they did to Rwanda in their final group game. We will prepare well for them.”
Yesterday was rest day for every team in the competition with the ninth and 10th classification games scheduled to take place today.
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