23 - 05 - 2011
GBT Mongoose News Flash No 2 Super Sports Series 2011
After 1 ½ years’ hard work the dream came true: Mongoose was starting their first Super Sports Games on the 30th of April and 1st of May 2011 at Mandeville Sports Centre.
Great excitement, joy and a bit of nervousness characterized the Mongoose Family, when arriving on Thursday, 28th April at the Mandeville Camp. The team was to challenge “Discovery Eagles” for a pre-season friendly game to assess themselves. All combinations were tested, the game was lost, nevertheless enjoyable and a good lesson for the Mongoose, where things still had to be fixed. The team also was still short of 2 of their players ( Cujo and Ruba). The next day was used to practice, relax and prepare for the next games. – And this was paying the next two days! The Mongoose chased the “DHL Flyers” over the court during their first game on Saturday. They had the game in their grip over three quarters, in between having a lead of 9 and even 11 points. Referees’ charges and some emotional built-up gestures lead to accumulation of 5 fouls on playmaker Gift Mooketsi ( NO 8), who still played German style. Even William Ruba ( No 4) got his 5th foul at the end of the 3rd quarter and had to be substituted. As the team was in trouble with their points, this lead to the forced substitution of the team’s big man Emmanuel Cujo ( NO 15) , who up to so far scored well and collected many of the team’s rebounds. The Flyers saw a crumbling Mongoose in the last quarter, not able to score and giving chances in the defense. Flyers exploited the situation for their advantage to secure their win at a final point balance of 75 vs 57, which was not quite reflecting the character of the game. However, a lost game hard played is still enjoyable!
Coach James Mthethwa was not too happy with the fact that 2 players had to be taken off the court due to fouls and several free shots were awarded to the opponents due to technical fouls, but acknowledged the team effort and spirit. The team was discussing their mistakes after the game in order to rectify them for the next game on the following day.
On Sunday the 1st of May the “Transnet Saints” saw a changed team. Disciplined to the brim, Gift Mooketsi ( No 8) led his team as a playmaker from win to win in each quarter. The team players worked as a unit and gave no chance to the Saints, who struggled to have chances for scoring baskets and lacked in defensive work. A slight ditch in performance of the Mongoose was seen when the score draw close in the beginning of the second quarter as far as 22 – 23. Then the Mongoose fired up again and victoriously outplayed the Saints on their ways to offense and defense respectively. Fast breaks by Gift Mooketsi (8) and Gift Mbele (No 5) completed the picture, Emmanuel Cujo ( No 15) once again working for the point balance. Defensively William Ruba (4) and Allen Mtatase (No 6) were hard-working to prevent damage from the opponents and enabling mobility of the Mongoose on the field.
The end result was a stunning 72 – 48 win for the Mongoose, who received a well earned bonus point.
All the more irritating was the call of the commissioner, that the team should have forfeited their game, by not having played all players the full 10 minutes as stipulated in the regulations. The situation has been, that Kelebogile Moeng (No 11) was about to be substituted at the beginning of the 4th quarter as also Linda Bosele ( No 9) and Gift Mbele ( no 5), but the game whistle was already blown, before Kelebogile reached the court. The team had to wait for 2 minutes until the ball was dead in order to make the called substitution.
Revisiting the previous game on Saturday it was plain, that Flyers had not played 3 of their players for 10 minutes and Mongoose also had one player only playing 8 minutes. The final decision of the Series’ Officials was that the game was a forfeit and even both teams of the first game were punished with forfeits for the same reason as they didn’t play all their players the full 10 minutes as stipulated in the rules.
A very disappointed team went home, but got courage by Coach Mthethwa, who was happy about the team’s performance and applauded the team for its team work on the floor.
The next game to be played was against Eagles on Sunday 8th of May at 13:00H.
Mongoose appeared nervously on the court, as they all told themselves that this game should be a win, preferably to get a bonus on top in order to advance for the next round. The first minutes didn’t start well for the team and the Eagles managed to score some easy baskets due to lack of communication on the Mongoose side. The first quarter Eagles won, and they continued to point, with Mongoose becoming more disorganized. Chances for their own baskets did not sink and loaded frustration on the team and coach.
However, the fighting spirit prevailed and Mongoose had phases which showed better defense, but did not make it to the end. A number of fouls on the Mongoose players, some in full speed on Mtatase were contributing to frustration and irritation in the squad.
Analyzing this game emotional pressure, not adhering to the game plan and lack of communication within the whole team were the main reasons for not making this game the break though so much longed for. Special performance was acknowledged for a young lady player, Kelebogile Moeng (No 11), who managed to defend the Eagles’ big man Grant (13) quite well and scored 4 points (70 % ) during her played 12 minutes.
The next match was played in Orkney on Sunday 15th May in the Oppenheimer Stadium against last year’s Finalist Lions.
This game was surely the best performance of the Mongoose during the Series and really exciting to watch. Baskets flew in both sides and for a long time spectators and players anxiously or enthusiastically contributed to the hot climate in the Hall. After the half time Mongoose who had fallen back some points came back strong on the Lions, who became shaky and missed a number of baskets. However, they pushed on in the last quarter, and even the forced substitution for Ike Monti on his 5th foul, who scored this game many baskets against his former home club, did not change the situation any more. A hard fought battle for both teams ended with a clear win for the Lions 72:60.
The last game left was the positional play between 9 and 10 against the Buffaloes from KZN, which was clearly decided in each quarter for the Mongoose and ended with 83:43 points for the Mongoose and a bonus point. A win, not much jubilated, as the team was not happy to find itself at this position at the end.
The biggest lessons were for this year’s season that Rookies have a hard stand and that loosing together can also teach a team for the future. Though we did not reach what we desired and thought we deserve, we did not fail as a team to achieve a good level play in our games. As for the spectators: they saw that we were convincing on the floor. Next year we are bouncing back with an even stronger team!
By: Mmatumelo Rauter