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Team Asokwa: Inexperience but amazing fair play spirit

With every sportsbook known to mankind had first timers Asokwa listed as one of the heavy favourites to clinch the prestigious Indomie Community Dunks.

While an upset would be shocking, it was entirely impossible, either.

The Kumasi-based club came into the finals on the heels of an impressive performance in the Ashanti regional qualifiers where they lost the title to their rivals Kwadaso at the centre court of the Kumasi Anglican Senior High School.

Big boys like Kofi Gyasi, Francis Poku, Theophilus Yalley, Mohammed Opoku and Stanley Afranie had big boots to fill having justified their exciting potential in the Garden City.

They however begun the journey at the El-Wak stadium on bad footing, losing their opening game to Cantonments – one contest they should have won but for some tactical indiscipline against the capital-based side.

They put up a solid performance against Dansoman in their second group B match but lack of athleticism, defensive play and low work rate accounted for their misery as they lost the battle to coach Feranmi Olulunyo’s charges.

Their 43-15 heavy defeat to eventual champions Kawanopado, underlined their campaign as they failed to pick maximum points in their three group games.

It was evident the team lacked the big game temperament and character to cause any serious threat to their opponent as they succumbed to the much experienced Cantonments, Dansoman and Kawnopado sides.

The Cape Coast-based side (Kawanopado) perhaps, presented the most experienced array of players including Benjamin Sagoe, Daniel Owusu Kingsley Whyte and Anthony Duodu.

Afranie was a better shooter while Bossman showed extreme defensive ability on the perimeter but those positive attributes  came to naught.

Perhaps what coach Wahab should be doing the next time is to deploy Charles Bonsu against the smaller shooting guards, or against boys who rely a bit more on their athleticism.

Bonsu’s three-point shooting ability means that in games where Asokwa need to score points, he’ll likely see some added minutes, regardless of the defensive matchup on the other end of the court.

Defensive player for the side, Nana Osei Tutu had four blocks and three steals to go with his 12 points and 7 rebounds during the group phase.

They dominated the boards against Cantonments in the first three quarters, out-rebounding them 26-24 but the last quarter proved to be their nemesis as they lost grounds – with Cantonments stealing the march off them to win narrowly.

However, Afranie established a defensive culture that got him many admirers.

Asokwa had hoped Yalley could have stepped into the centre position and impacted positively right away. His aggressive style was seen as a massive asset on the floor for the debutants.

But he is a legit centre in terms of size and weight. He will have to get used to the fact that the Community Dunks is full of strong boys and over time he will need to build his strength.

Looking into the future, Asokwa should push the pace, run more and use their defense to create some easy offense.

Perhaps they should focus on the three-point line. The excelled at making teams triple in Kumasi, but that was not the case during the grand-finale in Accra.

They deserve commendations for their fighting spirit and fair play attitude but must work their sucks off on the other side of the court in order to make any meaningful impact in 2013.

By: Patrick Akoto (Editor-In-Chief)

About Basketball

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