PE retain Petra Basketball Challenge Trophy
Prince Edward Kings returned to the podium after retaining their Petra High School Under-19 Basketball Challenge Trophy which was staged last weekend in Bulawayo.
The Harareans won the previous edition of the tournament last year.
Having lost three top players captain Alvin “Bisto” Jariramombe, Munyaradzi Chadenga and Jacob Dinha who all finished Advanced Level in December, not many gave PE a chance against their main rivals who managed to retain the nucleus of their own players from last year.
But, save for a customary defeat to eternal rivals Falcon College, Prince Edward encountered no much obstacle on their way to winning the competition for yet another occasion.
It was a star-studded field that they had to navigate before they could come back to the capital victorious. St John’s College, who graduated their national championship-winning Under-16 team into the senior team, were ranked as favourites going into the annual tournament.
Hosts Petra High School were also known to have drilled their basketballers who finished in a respectable fourth position last year and were this time out favoured to surpass that achievement. They ultimately reached the final for the first time in their own tournament.
Midlands Christian College and Masvingo’s Kyle College were the other formidable teams at the tournament.
PE’s intention of a clean sweep in their first Bulawayo outing of the year at school level was marred in the group stages by the 18-20 defeat to Falcon College, who later bowed out of the tournament at the quarter-final stage.
The other two group ties ended with PE crushing Gateway 26-12 and MCC 41-5. Petra, on the other hand, glided past Kyle, Heritage and Ihlathi to reach the knockout rounds.
A rematch between PE and Gateway ensued in the quarter-final with the former repeating their feat with a more comprehensive 22-9 win while Petra ended Falcon’s ambitions at the same round before a shock ousting of St John’s at the last four stage.
PE stormed into the final with Petra after knocking out fellow Harare side Heritage 32-14 in the semis, setting the stage for a battle royale between the hosts and the defending champions.
It was the Andrew “Drew” Maturure-coached PE who enjoyed the last laugh with a 36-13 result that handed them their first major sports accolade of the year.
Paul Freeman, Tendai Padera, Godfrey Tsomondo, Angelo White, Charles Mukweva, Malcolm Maruta, Phiro Runganga, Solomon Zawi, Kudakwashe Chadenga, David Marivara, Wesley Billiat