Rivers Hoopers have put behind them their slow start at the NBBF Premier League by demolishing new comers Ondo Raiders 85-28 at the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara Stadium, Ilorin.
Ikechukwu Benjamin led the onslaught with 16 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal including three pointers and 3/4 from the free throw line in 18 minutes.
Solomon Ajegbeyi added 14 points, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Ajegbeyi also shot a rare three-pointer late in the game.
Other Hoopers’ players on double digit include; Ronald Alalibo, who had 12 points, five rebounds, two steals and one assist. He also shot 4/8 from the deep while Abdul Yahaya added 10 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal.
Rivers Hoopers failed to score in the first three minutes of the game. They however found their rhythm midway through the second quarter as they took a 22-point lead at half time but not without a huge number of turnovers (10). The lead was stretched to 30 points in the third quarter as the two-time league champions gave more minutes to their bench players.
The Ondo Raiders who had no player on double figures were out-muscled in the paint 14-38, out-rebounded 36-68 and scored fewer points from the bench 16-61.
Hoopers assistant captain Ronald Alalibo confirmed match rustiness is responsible for their slow start.
“The team have been preparing for this task but inasmuch as we prepared we were match rusty at the beginning of the first quarter and the second quarter. It was much of a struggle for us but towards the end of second quarter we picked ourselves up and we took it from there. I hope we get better going forward.”
Rivers Hoopers next match is against Benue Braves on Tuesday October 22.