They were the fans’ favourites to win their maiden trophy, but Government Secondary School, Abuja for the second successive year had to go home empty handed following another loss in the final of the Nestle Milo Secondary Schools Basketball Championship.
The matches of the competition in both the girls and boys’ categories came to a thrilling end on Wednesday at the sports hall of the National Stadium, Lagos. Aside the games on the floor, there were thrillers from an outrageously talented dance troupe, who twisted and gyrated to the delight of spectators. And then, there was popular music crowd puller, Phyno, who wowed the audience with some of his hit tunes.
But the climax of the day was the boys’ final where the Abuja side met a fantastic side in Government Secondary School, Minna, Niger State, who won the closely-fought match 65-60 to emerge champions of the 2017 edition of the Nestle Milo Secondary School.
The debutants from Niger State stayed ahead in all the four quarters of the match, recording 20-20, 39-26, 45-44 before wrapping the game up at 65-60.In the girls’ final, St. Jude Girls Secondary School, Amarata, Bayelsa overwhelmed Yejide Girls Grammar School, Ibadan, Oyo, 41-14 to emerge the champions in the girls’ category.
It would be the fourth time the Bayelsa girls were lifting the championship trophy having won it in 2012, 2013, 2015 and now 2017 while Yejide is yet to repeat their feat of 1999.
The host state, Lagos, represented by Wesley Girls Secondary School, defeated Government Secondary School, Gboko-Benue, 37-31 to claim the third place position.St. Augustine’s Seminary, Ezzamgbo, Ebonyi defeated Greater Tomorrow Secondary School, Ondo, 37-31 to claim this year’s third place winners of the competition.Speaking at the end of the final, Abuja coach, Ndubuisi Achebe said it was unfortunate that his wards lost the game, adding it was hard lesson for the boys.
“We lost our rhythm at the beginning and it was difficult for us to play our game. I congratulate the winners, but I promise that we will do better next time,” he said. Head coach of the Niger team, Kudu Umar described his school’s win as well deserved victory.
“I am very happy for my players, they have shown great team spirit and diligence to reach this state and indeed it was victory achieved through hard work.“We will continue to improve on players as we believe developing these young athletes through sports participation.
“So we are very thankful to Nestle Nigeria PLC for the opportunity provided for this young stars to prove their worth,” Umar said.Tony Nelson the Head coach of St Jude Girls Secondary School, Amarata, said that he was overwhelmed with joy for the achievement and ascribed the success to the school’s passion for sports.“We have a solid culture for developing our youths through sports participation, over the years it has continue to be where youths are made to believe in sports participation.
“We thank the management of Nestle Nigeria PLC for their support over the years they backed basketball we urge other private individuals or corporate bodies to toe this lane,” Nelson said.