Prince Edward Fire Warning Shots

Prince Edward Panthers fired warning shots of the threat they pose to the order of merit in Zimbabwe schools basketball at the Nash Top Schools finals set to dazzle the second city of Bulawayo this weekend.

The Harare school took part in the pre-tournament Watershed Under-20 Invitational where they went, saw and avoided being conquered. Despite playing with their coach Andrew “Drew” Chitauro who was not present for unexplained reasons, PE won the tournament.

The Panthers won all their matches at the day-long event to finish top in what was their first basketball outing of the third term. Hosts Watershed finished a credible fourth in the final standings.

It was a fitting warm-up for the Alvin Jariremombe-skippered side who land in Bulawayo this afternoon for the main official event on the Nash basketball which draws 20 boys and girls teams, each province represented by two apiece.

But PE only secured their participation courtesy of the runner-up ticket after they lost in the provincial finals to Churchill High, who, however, qualified automatically as the defending champions of the national finals.

Ordinarily, “Churu” are overwhelming favourites going into the games with playmaker Manzini, who is back from a recent trial stint in Germany out to cause shockwaves. Mazowe Boys High, from Mashonaland Central, and Cornway College, representing Mashonaland West, are the other top-ranked teams at the tournament.

With basketball treated as the main school sports discipline in Bulawayo, tournament hosts Christian Brothers College will also be a fierce competitor strong enough to capture the title while representation from the two Matabeleland provinces could also spring some momentous upsets.

Girls High School are also headed to the Top Schools finals as the defending champions in the girls category and will slug it out against schools like Goromonzi from Mashonaland East and fellow Harareans Marlborough High.

Evelyn Girls High, staging some of the matches, will be the main contestant among the girls’ finalists, and will feature in interesting battles against arch-rivals Townsend Girls High and Bonda Girls High from Manicaland.

Sledge Chinyoka, Prince Edward’s basketball master, said the school was burning to return victorious from the Bulawayo fiesta.

“We are probably in the best of form among all the competing schools at the moment. We just won the Watershed Invitational last week on top of the three knockout tournaments we won during the first term,’’ he said, adding:

“People say Churchill are stronger than us because they beat us in the Harare finals and yes they are quick off the ball and can shoot three-pointers but we have corrected our mistakes and we have the advantage of size as compared to them.”

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