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Heavyweights overpowered, leave national games hurting

Last updated 1 year ago | By Elizabeth Mburugu

Action between Upper Hill and Laiser Hill in boys' rugby sevens in Term One games. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

Times are changing and so is the dominance of the Brookside Term One games, if the just concluded 2019 edition held in Mombasa is anything to go by. 

Of the 2018 national champions, only three remained standing as five failed to successfully defend their titles.

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National and East Africa's most successful boys' basketball side Laiser Hill, St Anthony's Kitale and St Luke's Kimilili were the only schools that retained their titles while their compatriots were stripped off their crowns. 

Rift Valley Region retained their overall title after emerging tops with 106 points, six more than second-placed Western.

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Nyanza were third with 80 points while Nairobi and Eastern finished fourth and fifth with 74 and 64 points.

Central (62), hosts Coast (60) and North Eastern, who garnered six points, finished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively. Rift Valley and Coast Region won the overall athletics and swimming titles.

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As Buruburu celebrated the end of their 18-year wait to win girls' basketball title, Kaya Tiwi broke down in tears as they let go their trophy after a 41-43 loss at Shimo La Tewa School, Mombasa.

With disbelief and anguish written all over their faces, the Coast girls knew without a doubt that their three-year supremacy had come to a sudden end.

Kaya Tiwi had won three titles in a row since making their national debut in 2016.

Buruburu, on the other hand, had had to wait for 18 years for them to lift the gong. They last won it in 2000.

Laiser Hill defended their honour bagging an eighth national crown after beating Nairobi's Dagoretti High 69-52 in the final.

Laiser Hill seemed to have done their homework right leading Dagoretti from the onset to the final whistle.

Meanwhile, St Anthony's were made to work harder to retain boys' hockey title after being stretched to a penalty shoot out by 12-time national winners Friends School Kamusinga.

The two familiar foes had played to a 2-2 draw in regular time before Matthias Gularire saved the reigning champions blushes by scoring the winner in a penalty shootout. 

St Luke's Kimilili extended their reign at the helm of boys' handball after beating the surprise package of the championship Mbooni 35-21 in the final.

Debutants Mbooni shook off the underdogs tag to make it to the final and qualify for the August East Africa games. Duncan Kimutai of Kimilili and Daisy Kimutai of St Joseph's Kirandich were named boys and girls handball MVPs.

New champions were crowned in rugby 15s and 7s, girls' hockey and girls handball. Last year's rugby 15s and girls  hockey champions Upper Hill and Trans Nzoia Mixed were eliminated at the regional games surrendering both their national and East Africa titles.

Kakamega High and St Cecilia Misikhu reclaimed the rugby 15s and girls hockey trophies they had last won in 2017 at State House Girls, Nairobi.

Laiser Hill and Moi Girls Kamusinga lost their rugby 7s and girls handball final matches to surrender their titles to Upper Hill and St Joseph's Kirandich respectively.

Laiser Hill captain Clinton Kioko was named the rugby 7s MVP.

Despite not making it to the last four, Homabay goalkeeper Terry Oloo and Bura captain Louzy Hidaya were named the boys and girls hockey MVPs.

Three teams in rugby 15s, 7s, and hockey qualified for East Africa games while all finalists in basketball and handball also booked their tickets to Arusha for the regional games.