2024 BAL: Rivers Hoopers bow to first defeat

Mike Fofana’s clutch performance delivered a defining moment for AS Douanes, as his buzzer-beater shot secured a thrilling 56-54 victory over Rivers Hoopers.

This win was crucial for the hosts of the 2024 Sahara Conference, boosting their record to 2-2 in what proved to be a tightly contested match.

Despite Rivers Hoopers’ Will Perry tying the game at 54-54 with just four seconds left, AS Douanes’ coach Mamadou Gueye refused to entertain the idea of overtime. Instead, he called a decisive timeout to draw up a play that ultimately sealed the victory for his team.

Executing Coach Gueye’s strategy flawlessly, Mike Fofana rose to the occasion, sinking the game-winning shot at the buzzer and handing the Nigerian champions their first defeat of the 2024 Basketball African League season.

Reflecting on his performance, Fofana described it as the most significant shot of his career, highlighting the trust Coach Gueye placed in him.

“That was the exact play. [Coach Gueye] He drew it for me to set down the screen, catch-and-shoot, and I just made the play,” said Mike Fofana who hit the game-winning buzzer-beater shot.

“This is the biggest shot of my career, easily. This is my first walk-out game. I will never forget this one,” added Fofana who finished with 6 points.

The victory halted Rivers Hoopers’ three-game winning streak, setting the stage for an exciting conclusion to the conference with two games remaining.

AS Douanes’ success was a result of the collective effort of the team, with standout performances from players like Madut Akec, Abdoulaye Harouna, and Adama Diakhite.

Despite the setback, Rivers Hoopers’ center Peter Olisemeka remained optimistic, expressing confidence in his team’s ability to bounce back stronger in their upcoming clash against APR.

“It’s one of those nights where things don’t always go as planned,” said Olisemeka who recorded his first BAL double-double of 16 points and 18 rebounds.

“We are going to come back stronger,” he added.

Olisemeka, who recorded his first BAL double-double with 16 points and 18 rebounds, was confident of the team’s resilience in the face of adversity.

Looking ahead, AS Douanes will aim to build on their momentum when they face US Monastir on Saturday, as they continue their pursuit of success in the conference standings.

READ ALSO: Nigerian champions defeat US Monastir to end 2024 BAL first round on a high

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