The Savannah conference Total National Division one league came to a close yesterday in Makurdi, with the last game involving the home team Benue Braves of markurdi and the Nigerian Army Rockets.
The game was a thriller by all standards, as both teams put up there best performance to showcase their preparedness to move into the elite premier league next season as the situation stand from this conference.
The early morning conference finals match up saw Benue Braves take a good lead right from the first quarter of the game of 15 points.
The Benue Brave boys came out ready to play theirs hearts out, having seen the game between APA flames and the Army boys in the second game of the league the previous day ; that they needed to come out strong.
The Army boys with a very average size team and deep bench really fought hard to record a second defeat against Braves, but was not to be at the end of hostility, as they lost to a more enterprising and experience Benue Brave boys.
Shooting , rebounding and dunking the balls by the Benue boys saw the large early morning crowd that thrown the Apeh Aku stadium moved to give support and cheer to their team to victory again against the Army rockets team.
By the last quarter the Army boys showed some resilience and threats but couldn't overrun the Benue boys, as the braves took advantage of the lack of 24-Second shot clock violation to their advantage to burn the time before attacking the basket.
This strategy paid off for the Benue team.
Umar with jersey no. 11 for Benue was outstanding with his threes and Ochei with jersey no. 7 the point guard was very effective for the Braves, as he took control of the court for the team.
The army boys too refused to be intimidated by the braves home court advantage as they equally charge in to the Benue defense, making incursions and making easy vital 2 points shoots and also out rebounding the Benue boys with their heights advantage and size. However their rather lack of ball control discipline caused the Army men to turn over lots of ball possessions to the advantage of the Benue boys, who recovered balls to score against the Army boys.
Coach Martina, Apir and Spencer, team strategy helped the Benue boys to execute good basketball techniques on the court.
The match was eventual won by Benue Braves. 60-42, with a 2-0 records win Benue top the group as the winner of the Savannah conference Total national league one, followed by The Nigerian Army Rockets team. who won one game against APA flames. with a record of one lost and one win.
Third place goes to APA flames, with a record of no win but 2 straight losses.
With this placements Benue braves and Nigerian Army rockets qualifies to play at the National final four later in the year in Lagos this December 2018. After the National sports festival in Abuja.
This is a long awaited dream come true for the Benue people and the team braves. As the team returns to play at the elite league, that have eluded them since the 90s when they were demoted to the lesser league one for several years now.
Today's Braves win at this tournament brings them back to contest at national limelight of basketball in country and it has not been an easy road for the team to qualify, but kudos must go to coach Martina Emmauella, head coach Benue state basketball for a succesful hosting, and ensuring the pride of Benue before now.
THE basketball glory is back in THE STATE AND IN to limelight again in Nigeria.