FOR the first time in six years, the Bulawayo women’s basketball provincial team beat their bitter rivals Harare in the final of the four-day inter-provincial basketball tournament played at the Bulawayo Courts of the Disabled (BCD) over the weekend.
Bulawayo narrowly beat Harare 42-40 to win the gold medal in the tournament that also featured Mashonaland West, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North and the Midlands provinces.
Although the Bulawayo women’s senior team exorcised the ghost that has been haunting them for the past six years against the Harare Giants, it was a bad day for their male counterparts who lost to the Midlands and Harare.
They lost 80-84 to the Midlands before losing 66-71 to Harare in the final match of the day.
Harare men’s senior team then won gold as they also beat the Midlands 80-64.
The teams from Harare were ruthless as the province also dominated in the Under-20 category, attaining in both boys and girls’ competitions.
Harare Under-20 girls beat Bulawayo 47-37 in the final while their boys outclassed Mashonaland West 44-34.
Bulawayo and Mashonaland West settled for silver in the girls and boys’ junior categories respectively.
It was an improvement for Mashonaland West who has never reached the finals of any provincial basketball competitions for years in both junior and senior categories.
Bulawayo Basketball Association secretary-general Howard Phangwana said: “This was a good and competitive tournament. I was impressed by the teams. The senior women’s team attained gold and I saw it coming because we had a good side. For the men I was also impressed because the coaches selected a developmental side and we gave Harare a good run for their money. We were beaten by experience,” Phangwana said.
Basketball Union of Zimbabwe (BUZ) president Addison Chiware also said he was impressed by the tournament. The annual tournament saw the deliberate replacement of the Under-22 by the Under-20s as BUZ aimed at selecting the national team that will take part in the Region V games to be hosted by Bulawayo in December.