Quote of the week

“To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you're not, pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Bashana Ba Heso and KTA All Stars - The Clasico

KTA and BBH meet again
Bashana Ba Heso (BBH) and KTA All Stars meet this afternoon in the derby of Lesotho basketball.

The two juggernauts collide at the Lehakoe Recreational Centre with the regular season winding down and teams jostling to secure one of the four playoffs spots in the 11-team National Basketball League (NBL).

It would appear these two will make it, however. KTA are second in the NBL and reigning champions BBH are third.

They are both also coming into form at the right time. No one has won more games than KTA this season and on Friday they demolished Leseli 80-45.

BBH, for their part, have won three times over the past fortnight. Last week they thumped Limkokwing University 72-32, on Wednesday they smashed Khubestate 75-36 and yesterday they rolled Rovers 52-39, wins that have moved BBH back into the top four after they were briefly displaced by Leseli.

NBL Top 4 currently

Lichocha Shooting Rifles
KTA All Stars
Bashana Ba Heso
Bokamoso South

Even though upstarts Lichocha Shooting Rifles are enjoying a fine season and have already beaten KTA, BBH and their Khubetsoana rivals remain favourites to meet in the NBL finals as they did last year.

The duo has dominated Lesotho basketball over the past two years and has won every trophy available over the last 12 months.

BBH are reigning NBL champions after beating KTA 3-2 in a thrilling finals series last May. Last July, KTA won the Memorial Independence Tournament and then in December, BBH got the better of KTA in the final of the Summer Slam Charity Tournament.

The two also met in the 2014 NBL finals which KTA won.

That BBH are champions would appear to give them a slight psychological advantage for today’s encounter. Led by reigning NBL MVP Lejone Thakanyane, BBH also seem to have mastered a formula of beating KTA as they are the team that has handed KTA the most losses since the league introduced the playoffs system three years ago.

KTA has been Lesotho’s most successful club since its formation in 2009 therefore a lot has come to be at stake when these teams meet with the young BBH squad intent on snatching the spotlight from KTA.

KTA came out on top in the teams’ first NBL meeting this season and KTA point guard Ratšolo Molupe said they will rely on their balance of youth, experience, talent and size again.

“KTA is still a bit bitter that BBH has been able to scoop two important titles, the 2014-2015 league championship and 2015 Summer Slam. So, we want this game more than ever,” Molupe said.

Today’s game is also most important to both teams as it may determine who will earn top spot in the regular season before the Top 4 finals playoffs.

Molupe said the winner would be in the pound seats to top the standings.

“Both teams wish to meet the fourth seeded team in the semi-finals of the Top 4,” Molupe said.

“The team that will be most prepared for the game psychology and physically will dominate and win the game. That team will most likely go all the way and claim top spot this season,” Molupe said.

The game starts at 15:00 at Lehakoe.

Today’s NBL fixtures
Sunday, 3 April
Venue: Lehakoe

Court A
09:00 - BBH v KTA All Stars (Ladies)
11:00 - Limkokwing University v South W (L)
13:00 - Lichocha Shooting Rifles v Matlama (A-Division)
15:00 - KTA All Stars v BBH (A)

Court B
09:00 - Rovers v Tigers (L)
11:00 - Rovers v Bokamoso South (A)
13:00 - KTA All Stars v Bokamoso South (L)
15:00 - Limkokwing University v Rovers (A)