Nigeria’s representatives at the 2022 World School Basketball Championships, Bayelsa State’s duo of Bishop Dimieari Grammar School and St Jude’s Girls Secondary School, Amarata, yesterday, in Belgrade, began their campaigns with victories over Hungary and Turkey.
The boys’ team took to the court early in the day, but did not start well against the experienced Hungarian side. The Hungarian team led from the first and second quarters, while taking the dominant lead to the third quarter with 15 points gap. But the third quarter became the turning point for the Nigerian side, as it reduced the lead to seven points at the end of the third quarter.
The final quarter brought out the best in the Nigerian boys, as they raced to the lead from the start to overtake their opponents and continued that way to win the last quarter by 15 points gap and end the match at 59 to 52 points.
Dickson Bumam was the standout player, as he scored 14 points, with one assist. John Wilberforce added a double digit score with 14 as well, while Favour Kpee scored 11 points.
In the girls’ match, St Jude’s Girls Secondary School team, led by Hembam Wandoo, showed class against their Turkish counterparts. The Nigerian girls were not intimidated by the physical nature of the Turkish girls, as they dictated the pace from the first to the fourth quarters.
They won the game by 48 to 37 points.
Among the dignitaries on hand to cheer the teams were Bayelsa State First Lady, Gloria Ebibomo Diri and president of the Nigeria School Sport Federation (NSSF), Olabisi Joseph, as well as Bayelsa’s Commissioner for Education, Gentle Emelah.
Today, the boys’ team will take on Chinese Taipei, while the girls’ will slug it out with Bulgaria. This is the first time Nigeria will be competing in the championships, as one of the two African teams alongside Libya.
They are competing against teams from 19 other nations, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Nepal, North Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia, Chinese Taipei and Turkey.