Complex Tigresses reclaimed the Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League championship despite suffering their first defeat of the season when they went down to Kukoma Diamonds 47- 33 at Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday.
Both teams finished with 48 points, but Tigresses had a better basket difference having scored more and let in a few.
In the absence of defender Grace Mwafulirwa-Mhango, Tigresses struggled in defence. The injury of their top shooter, Sindie Simtowe, worsened their cause.
On the contrary, Diamonds were impressive and they led throughout the match. And at the top of their attacks was shooter, Alinafe Kamwala, who defied odds to score more baskets.
Tigresses tried different players in playing positions to arrest Diamonds’ attack, but it was to no avail. Diamonds led the first quarter 12-6 before extending the lead to 20-15 at half time.
Tigresses tried to fight back in the third quarter, but they still trailed 31-29.
Diamonds assistant coach Noel Mussa said it was important to gate-crash Tigresses Rainbow party.
“It was obvious that Tigresses will win the title because they scored more baskets and conceded the least. We just wanted to win so that we should tie on points,” he said.
Tigresses coach, Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, said they used the match to try different combinations.
Tigresses received K600,000 for emerging champions with Diamonds pocketing half the amount. Third-placed Thunder Queens, who beat Alliance Capital Stars 41-32, got K200,000 while Stars received K120,000 for finishing fifth.
Fourth-placed Prison Sisters, who had a walkover victory over Airwing Sisters 150-0, received K150,000. Airwing received K100,000 for ending on position six while seventh-placed Chilomoni Sisters, who beat Shizaella 40- 36, pocketed K90,000. Shizaella received K80,000. Table anchors Gerald Tasaukadala Sisters received K70,000.
In individual awards, Diamonds’ Kamwala won the up-and-coming shooter award while Cathy Yikwanga of Tigresses won similar award in defence. Kondwani Viyuyu of Prison Sisters won the up-coming centre award. The trio received K15,000 each.
Sherratie Kaiche of Thunder Queens was named the overall most improved player. Umpire Joseph Kuwanda was voted the most improved.
In media category, Innocent Chitimbe of Star Radio was named best reporter in radio category while Arkangel Tembo retained the award in online category. Times Group’s Lusayo Kanyika and Mphatso Malidadi won the awards in television and print media respectively.
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