Nyanza Regional Secondary School basketball champions Onjiko High School sent clear warning shots to their opponents in the inaugural Lukos Energy Basketball League that tipped off on Saturday at Jaramogi Sportsgrounds in Kisumu.
Led by their captain, point guard Alvin Otieno, Onjiko swept senior sides Vihiga Titans and Hashira with ease despite being the only Secondary School basketball team in the league.
Otieno dropped 23 points to lead Onjiko past Hashiras 85-45. Dennis Oduor added 16 points while Nyal Padiel scored 13 points for the two-time Nyanza regional champions. Churchill Otieno was Hashiras best shooter with 16 points.
Speaking after their debut win, Onjiko captain Alvin Otieno said the new league offers them the perfect space to not only gauge themselves but also prepare well for next year’s Kenya Secondary School Term One games.
Onjiko who won this year’s Kisumu County and Nyanza Regional basketball boys title came short once again at the nationals where they failed to go past the group stage.
Otieno believes the Lukos Energy Basketball League will make them strong come next year since they will be playing against some of the established senior clubs and learn from players currently playing in the KBF Premier League like Silar Awuor (Lakeside) and Trevor Gari (current champion with KPA).
“It is a good league for us Onjiko. Here, we will get the opportunity to mature. It has been two years of joy and heartbreak where we have dominated locally but failed at the national games.
“I believe if we continue with the league, come next year we will be far much better than any high school team,” said Otieno who led Onjiko to winning the Kisumu County basketball title for a second year running edging out Maseno School.
Onjiko also thrashed Vihiga Titans 92-51 in a game where Byron Onyango led with 21 points and eight rebounds. Dennis Oduor and Nyal Padiel added 14 points as Alvin Otieno sunk 13 points.
Maseno Dukes on the other hand saw off Hashira 69-47 with Jefferson Opiyo dropping a game high 24 points followed by Allan Kibira with 19 points.
They followed it with a 78-46 win over Vihiga Titans. Sam Oluoch of Titans finished with a game high 24 points despite the defeat as Sila Awuor dropped 21 points for Dukes.
Brian Ondari meanwhile led with 19 points as Kwach edged out Adili 85-45 before Trevor Gari pulled 14 points to guide Kwach past Urbanville 74-36 in their second match.
Other results saw Urbanville survive a late comeback attempt by Raiders to win 42-41 as Adili also defeat Raiders 55-49.
After two matches, Onjiko sit top of the eight-team Victoria Conference standings with four points difference of 96 points. Maseno Dukes and Kwach are also with four points.
Adili and Urbanville follow with three points each as Raiders, Hashira and Vihiga Titans hold the bottom three with two points each.
League Director Brian Lusaga said it was just the beginning of a projected better future for basketball development in the vast Nyanza and Western region.
“The league tipped off with great energy. We had sports officials from the Kisumu County led by Director Brian Muga This brought hope to the teams and are looking forward for a great season. The players had missed basketball action. The crowd that came was overwhelming; they were entertained from great basketball plays and skills.
“All the teams were meeting for the first time, going forward teams will have intense games as team scouts were busy learning their opponents. We move to Kitale next weekend for the Uplands,” he said.
Lukos Energy Basketball League
Victoria Conference Results
Kwach 80-48 Adili
Raiders 41-42 Urbanville
Vihiga Titans 51-92 Onjiko
Hashiras 47-69 Maseno Dukes
Kwach 74-36 Urbanville
Adili 55-49 Raiders
Vihiga Titans 46-78 Maseno Dukes
Onjiko 85-45 Hashiras