The Sasol Amawheelaboys took on Angola Esperance in the opening game of the 2018 Lwini Cup in Luanda Angola.
Young Zakhele Shelembe and Simingaye Shabalala made their first senior competitive starts for the Senior Men’s National Team in this game as the coaching staff looked to blood some younger players into the team.
South Africa started the game very slowly and the Angolans were determined to give the Sasol Amawheelaboys a tough game and came out aggressively.
South Africa struggled to convert their chances early on and soon found themselves 10-4 down and looked a bit rattled. A time-out was called and Coach Lydia Dumond demanded composure and no panic to gain control of the game. This seemed to register as the Amawheelaboys were able to claw back the deficit and ended the quarter level on 12-12.
Young Zakhele Shelembe really impressed in the first quarter, with his solid and agreesive defensive work and effective picking.
Much improvement was expected in the second quarter, and the Amawheelaboys did not disappoint. The South African’s employed an aggressive press from the outset and the Angolans had no answer to it as they struggled to break the defense and as result the Angolans conceded numerous turnovers.
Mgcini Mzileni was introduced into the game and quickly made an impressive impact. He controlled the play and was aggressive in offense, causing the Angolans problems with his quick hands and agile movement.
At last the Amawheelaboys were converting their opportunities and went into the half time break with a commanding 33-16 lead.
The Angolans were desperate to claw their way back into the game, and they themselves started with a full court press at the beginning of the second half, but South Africa were able to break through this on most occasions and maintained complete control of the game throughout.
At the start of the 4th quarter South Africa lead 57 -27 and it was now merely a case of seeing the game out and were able change their combinations on court on a regular basis giving all the players a chance for much need game time.
South Africa maintained their control of the game and cruised to a 67-31 victory and all round a positive start to the tournament.