The two top teams of the Accra Basket League (Division One – Men) met in an epic encounter yesterday and it was an instant classic.
Going into the game, CEPS had won all 15 league games in this year’s competition. Indeed, their last loss in a league game was to Tema Youth perhaps, 4 years ago. However, going against a younger team with size, experience and a Coach of solid repute, it was expected that CEPS will be given a good run for their money.
The two teams met in match day one of this year’s league. A match up which CEPS won 55 – 44. Leopards in that game played without Astro and Wolf. They were also without Meme Falconer their current head coach (who could easily suit up and give the team 20 points a game).
It was obvious to the neutral fan that the Leopards team had improved since Match day 1. They were the second-best team in the league having lost only 4 games. However, most fans were not prepared for the drama that took place last night.
The first storyline in the drama that unfolded was that Leopards held CEPS to only 7 points in the first quarter. Although there have been several low scoring games in this year’s league across divisions, it is hard to recollect any game where CEPS had not logged in double figures in the first quarter.
The second storyline was that Leopards were up by 13 at the end of the half. This is a feat no team has achieved this year that is lead CEPS with double digits at that half. At this point it seemed that CEPS were set to lose their first league game in the season.
The third was CEP’s forward, Daniel Aryee (Dougie). He single handedly kept CEPS in the game in the first half and helped bring them back into the game in the second. Not surprisingly, in the same match up in first round, Dougie led all scores with 21 points. In last night’s game, Dougie led all scores again with 29 points.
The final storyline was a play that the Leopards would love to forget. With less than 24 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Leopards got a defensive rebound after CEPS had missed two three-point attempts. Leopards were one point up and all they had to do was dribble the ball until time ran out. Point guard Joel Tham crossed the centre line with the ball and with only one defender back, passed the ball to Fred Asante who decided to put the nail in the CEPS coffin by going for a dunk. BIG MISTAKE. Fred missed the dunk, Dougie of CEPS got the rebound, kicked it out to veteran Patrick Dzogbetsi (Paapa) who hit the buzzing beating 3 pointer sending the entire Lebanon house into a frenzy.
Leopards may have another opportunity to play CEPS as this year’s competition format requires the top four teams in the league to go into a playoff to determine the winner. Per the current standings, CEPS and Leopards are likely to be joined by Fire Service and Tema Youth for the playoffs.
It is possible that the two teams will meet in a best of 3 final in November this year.