Nguirane prowess guides JS Kairouan past ES Rades in Tunisian derby
KAIROUAN (Tunisia) - Senegalese center Maodo Nguirane inspired the home side JS Kairouan to a memorable 68-67 victory over fellow Tunisian rivals ES Rades in front of a fully packed Salle Aziz Miled on Saturday night.
Standing tall at 2.10m(6ft 11), Nguirane controlled the game on both ends of the court with absolute class dropping a game high 26 points, picking 10 rebounds for the double double and also made one block and managed a steal.
His presence in the paint was too much for the ES Rades front court who fumbled to keep their hopes of winning alive especially in the last quarter when he was unstoppable.
''The Green Eagles'' tipped off in fine form leading the first quarter 21-17 but a strong comeback built on admirable defence from ES Rades saw the latter limit the hosts to just nine points in the second quarter to lead 35-30.
JS Kairouan knew that they had to make changes to their approach at the break and indeed when they returned, a more tactical approach in the paint with a man-to-man defence to turn to saved them some blushes with the home crowd backing them up.
A better third quarter saw them attempt to match ES Rades' charge managing 16-20 with the latter leading 55-46 and as both sides prepared for the last quarter, it was evident that indeed it was a battle of pride - a lot was at stake.
😱 What a finish in Kairouan!! JSK pull out a 68-67 victory against ES Rades in the 1st leg of the #Elite8 👏#AfricaLeague #Tunisia #JSK #Kairouan #JSKvESR pic.twitter.com/rJbyW2H2Xk— Africa Basketball League (@AfricaLeague) March 30, 2019
Lawrence Gilbert Jr added 15 points while youngster Ahmed Dhif's nine assists and six points gave JS Kairouan the advantage going into the second leg set for Saturday, April 13.
Mourad El Mabrouk put up a team high 17 points while Deonre Parks and Mokhtar Ghayaza added 13 and 12 points in that order but their efforts were not enough to help ES Rades to victory.
The winner of this tie over both legs will book a birth in the FINAL FOUR.