NBBF Final 4: Rivers Hoopers scrape past City Chiefs with a nervy win

Hosts Rivers Hoopers began their Premier Basketball League Final Four campaign with a nervy 67-62 win over Gboko City Chiefs on Thursday in Port Harcourt.

The KingsMen started out of the blocks in the first quarter with complete dominance to lead the Chiefs 20-6 much to the delight of a raucous home crowd.

However, things took a drastic turn in the second quarter as the Chiefs stepped up the tempo while Rivers Hoopers struggled to maintain their rhythm and ran into too many foul troubles. Gboko City Chiefs poured in 15 points, while Hoopers could only manage 9.

The game grew in intensity during the third quarter as both teams fought for every ball and scored the highest points per quarter, as the KingsMen edged the Chief 25-23 to open up a 10-point lead heading into the fourth.

The fourth quarter provided a fitting end to the game as yet again Hoopers fell prey to foul troubles and the Gboko City Chiefs outscored the home team to close the gap to four points with less than a minute on the clock.

Gboko City Chiefs went on to take the fourth quarter 18-13, but it was Rivers Hoopers who emerged victorious overall, thanks to their healthy halftime lead and good game management in the final moments of the encounter.

Rivers Hoopers did not have the best of days from the free throw line as the team could only convert 6 out of 14 free throws, a poor 42.85%. They shot 53.85% from behind the arc with 7/13 three points made.

Michael Daramola led the scoring for Rivers Hoopers with 14 points while vice-captain Buchi Nwaiwu contributed 7 points and 8 rebounds, and captain Victor Anthony Koko had 6 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Anaiye Johnson had 9 points.

On the other hand, Gboko City Chiefs shot 83.33% from the free throw line, with 15/18 free throws, accompanied by a 100% shooting from behind the arc with 3/3 3PM.

Patrick Abah led the scoring for the chiefs with 13 points.

Rivers Hoopers will hope for an improved performance when they take on Hoops & Read in their second game on Friday while Gboko City Chiefs will seek revenge against Nigeria Customs having lost to the same team in the Savannah Conference. 

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