Basketball Africa League: Final day of Sahara Conference action tips off

The first part of the Basketball Africa League wraps up as Dakar Universite Club (Senegal) takes on Association Sportive de Salé (Morocco).

Dakar Universite Club vs. Association Sportive de Salé

Start time: 5:00 p.m. ET

In the last game of the Sahara Conference this season, hosts DUC (1-3) will try to finish on a positive not when they go up against AS Salé (2-2).

The Moroccan champions on Monday night emerged from the ashes to beat SLAC 91-81 and take control of their BAL destiny.

DUC, on the other hand, have experienced some inconsistency throughout the tournament, but beating the former African champions isn’t impossible, but it will require a tremendous efforts, especially trying to stop the Sahara Conference leading scorer Terrel Stoglin and sharpshooter Abdoulaye Harouna.

AS Salé Head Coach Liz Mills noted that Monday night’s win was very important win for AS Salé, “We still have one more game and one more win. I think we are qualified, but it depends where we finish and that’s why the win tomorrow is just as important.”

BAL Day 8

Clube Ferroviário da Beira vs. Rwanda Energy Group

Rwanda Energy Group (REG) clinched the 2022 Basketball Africa League (BAL) title after beating Ferroviario da Beira 94-89 on Tuesday and advance to the playoffs in May in Kigali with a 4-1 record.

Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumkiza powered the Rwandan champions with a game-high 28 points, Dieudonne Ndizeye and Cleveland Thomas Jr. added 21 points apiece and Anthony Walker made his presence felt with 11 points and 7 rebounds.

And although Beira dominated the battle in the paint by scoring 25 points near the basket, REG exposed Beira’s poor perimeter defense to tie Petro de Luanda’s BAL record for most three-pointers made in a game.

On May 30, 2021 the Angolan champions hit 20 three-pointers to beat Patriots BC in the Third-Place of the inaugural season of the BAL.

On Tuesday, REG finished 20 for 36 from long range.

Nshobozwabyosenumkiza was 8-for-11 from beyond the arc, Ndizeye was 5-of-9 from the three-point line, Thomas Jr. scored 12 of his 21 points from the perimeter line and Adonis Filer pubished Beira’s defense by converting 3-of-6 three-pointers.

“They are a solid team, they have a pretty good chemistry; they made a lot of shots. We should be on a perimeter zone a little earlier, but, it is what it is,” Jermelle Kennedy who finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds for Beira.

Helton Ubisse and Ayade Munguambe powered Beira’s offense with 17 points each.

“We did everything to finish this tournament with a win. We never gave up. Two other teams were in a similar situation to us, but we wanted a win at any costs,” said Munguambe who admitted that “REG is a tough team to play against. They have good players, are well-coached and can shoot the ball.“

Nshobozwabyosenumkiza later revealed that REG’s mindset heading to final game “was to close this tournament with a win. We won this group  [Sahara Conference], and we are happy that we are going to play the team that finishes fourth in the other group [Nile Conference].”

“I got that energy from God because yesterday I didn’t play well, so, I made sure to execute and play better tonight.”

“They almost beat us, but we were focused tonight.”

The BAL Nile Conference will take place in Cairo from April 9 through April 19 with the playoffs taking place in Kigali from May 21-28.

“It’s a huge motivation for us. We’ve only lost one game, that means that maybe we can win the [BAL] title,” Nshobozwabyosenumkiza said.

REG proved challenging for Beira on several aspects of the game.

Even though the Kigali-based team were sloppy the ball, turning it over 24 times, they moved the ball better to finish with 28 assists, ten more than Beira, who struggled from the free-throw line where they finished 12 for 20.

“We feel let down,” Kennedy admitted. “We felt like we were the first or second best team here; clearly we got smacked in the face and we get to do a reality check now. I don’t like to take lessons of losses but, in this scenario, it’s good for these guys to realise that we need to be much better.”