Rivers Hoopers Make History, Clinch Spot in 2024 BAL Playoffs

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In a thrilling encounter, Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers defeated Rwanda’s Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) 78-71 in the first-ever BAL double-overtime game, securing a spot in the 2024 BAL Playoffs. This victory makes them the first team from the Sahara Conference to advance to the playoffs, which are scheduled to begin on May 24 at the BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Hoopers’ triumph was fueled by a balanced team effort, with five players scoring in double digits. Devine Eke and Peter Olisemeka dominated the boards with 18 points and 18 rebounds, and 17 points and 19 rebounds, respectively. Will Perry contributed 11 points and seven assists in a low-scoring game where both teams struggled with less than 40% shooting from the floor.

APR’s Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza led his team with 16 points and five rebounds, while Dario Hunt finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds, and eight assists. Despite the loss, APR remains second in the Sahara Conference and will face Senegal’s AS Douanes (4th place with 2 wins and 3 losses) later today to secure a postseason berth.

In the second game, Tunisia’s US Monastir, the 2022 BAL champions, kept their playoff hopes alive by defeating AS Douanes 75-69, their second straight win in the competition. Chris Crawford led Monastir with 18 points and seven assists, while Oussama Marnaoui scored 16, and Firas Lahyani finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Abdoulaye Harouna led the Douanes with 22 points, and Adama Diakhite added 14 points and nine rebounds.

The Sahara Conference will conclude today, with APR, AS Douanes, and US Monastir competing for the last two playoff spots. Rivers Hoopers will face US Monastir at 2:30 p.m. GMT, and AS Douanes will take on APR at 5:30 p.m. GMT.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Basketball Africa League (BAL).

Source: Sports Village Square

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