The 2024 basketball season fired into action on the weekend with Maritzburg College welcoming Westville Boys’ High to the Alan Paton Memorial Hall and Multi-Purpose Centre for a showdown between two talented teams in a traditional season-opener.
College played host to a massive 20 games as the rivals battled for bragging rights.
The home team had ended 2023 in fine form, and they were keen to extend their impressive run against a nuggetty Westville line-up.
Westville, though, had other ideas and hit the ground running, taking the game to the home side. After the first quarter, they had opened up a narrow 14-11 advantage.
The Griffin played efficient ball and showed excellent touch around the rim. College, though, were heating up and their athleticism, speed and superb ball skills were soon on show.
College playmaker Masinga then took control of the contest, which led to the red, black and white surging ahead of the visitors.
With the crowd fully behind them, College fed off the energy of the vocal support. A couple of slam dunks and a last-second basket took the Pietermaritzburg side to a 75-56 win and laid down a solid marker for the season.
The first team win was one of 16 for College. Westville mustered only four victories, but their u16 team, which was the class of KZN in 2023, continued their winning ways, outplaying College 48-26.
Meanwhile, Northwood School showed off their offensive capabilities in reaching triple figures as they swamped Hilton College 102-63. The Knights captured the Kearsney Invitational Basketball Tournament title in 2023 and they’re a well-coached outfit with some standout players, which will make them a tough out this year.
Speaking of Kearsney College, they recorded a 50-33 win over Glenwood at the SportZone on Saturday. The visitors from the south of Durban came out of the blocks fast and set Kearsney on their heels, but the Botha’s Hill boys slowly began to turn the screws and by half-time they were one point in front.
In the second half, they opened the taps and ran away to a convincing 17-point win.
At the Riverside Sports Club, Clifton College and Michaelhouse went toe-to-toe, with Clifton starting off strongly, but Michaelhouse fighting back to level matters at 16-16 at the break.
A scoring spurt took ‘House eight points clear at 30-22 in the third quarter, but Clifton, with some good defence, created a number of simple scoring opportunities and worked their way back to 31-31.
The team were all square at 33-33 when Michaelhouse went on a 9-0 run to give themselves some breathing room. Clifton, though, roared right back at them and pulled to within five points, but that was as close as they got, with Michaelhouse earning a battling 45-40 victory.
St Charles College, renowned for their basketball prowess, made a winning start to their season, holding off a robust challenge from Durban High School to win 62-52.
Maritzburg College 75-56 Westville Boys’ High
Hilton College 63-102 Northwood School
Kearsney College 50-33 Glenwood
Clifton College 40-45 Michaelhouse
St Charles College 62-52 Durban High School