David Godwin scored 13 points to inspire Kwara Falcons to defeat Port Harcourt-based Royal Hoopers 74-70 on Thursday and claim a 3-1 advantage going into the Final 6 Playoffs.
The Kwese Basketball Premier League match was played at the Indoor Sports Hall of Kwara Stadium Complex, Ilorin.
The trio of Godspower Ossai (13), Mojubaoluwa Oyeleye (11) and Nnamdi Emmanuel (11) reached double figures to help see off the visitors challenge.
Solomon Ajegbeyi and Emmanuel Balogun heavily carried Hoopers with a game high of 18 and 17 points respectively but it wasn’t enough to give them victory.
Both teams had already secured top two finishes between them going into the game but Hoopers intention was to maintain their top spot in the conference as they dominated the opening quarter which ended 12-18.
In the second quarter, with 1:52secs left to play, Falcons skipper Tunde El-Lawal stole possession to make a basket, hence drawing the hosts level 28-28 for the first time in the game.
More points from Emmanuel ended the quarter 33 -31.
Falcons lost several points from free throws but still managed to produce a composed display in the third quarter which ended 60-49.
The Kingsmen rallied late to find their way back into the keenly contested game 70-70 with 2:15secs left.
But Oyeleye pounced on a rebound to power the host in front before Godwin netted two points from free throw to put an end to a pulsating game.
Coach Ogoh Odaudu of Hoopers said that he was satisfied with his side’s performance in spite of the loss.
“I’m satisfied with our performance, not only that but also with the quality of display by both teams. It was very thrilling.
“The playoffs is a different ball game, we are going to represent the conference alongside Falcons and others. Hopefully we can all make progress,’’ Odaudu said.
Similarly his counterpart, Aderemi Adewunmi of Kwara Falcons praised his boys for raising their game.
“We thank God for the victory because we fought so hard against a very tough opposition.
“We still have about three games left before the playoffs, so we will continue to do our best,’’ Adewumi said
Delta Force are next on the card for Falcons on Saturday at the same venue.