It is two years since Maseno School was crowned the Lake Region secondary schools basketball champions. After staging a sustained dominance in the region as well as boasting an enviable track record in the national secondary school games since 2002, the team seems to have run out of its winning form having lost in the last two Lake Region finals to Ambira High School and Agoro Sare High School.
However, the Homa Bay based school is considered by many as a basketball powerhouse going by exploits in previous outings in the games, and the journey to rise to the top again has never stopped.
Maseno School won their maiden national title in 2002 and replicated the fete in 2005 and 2007, after sinking St. Austins 56-54. After spending another two years in the cold, they were back at it again in 2010 overcoming a resilient Laiser Hill 54-52, with their talisman Ronald Gundo being named the Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP).
The team’s last appearance in the national competitions was in 2015 when they won the title by a point against Upper Hill (46-45) in a closely contested final. The duo of Dwayne Oluoch and Isaiah Ater dropped a team high of 14 points to take the regional giants over the line.
The team has also won the Nyanza Region secondary school games by an unprecedented seven times thereby underlining their perennial dominance.
The team’s assistant coach Sam Obiero exclusively revealed to Citizen Digital that meticulous preparations are the secret to the team’s unassailable supremacy in the region.
“The boys are always well prepared. Mr. Gordon Ogutu, the senior coach, normally deals with the technical aspect of their preparations while I handle their psychological welfare. We always remind them of the importance of mastering all the drills that they go through during training.
“I specifically make sure that all of the players are psychologically ready for matches. Every player has something bothering them which could affect the way the play. Therefore I personally listen to them and try to find possible solutions,” told the coach.
As part of their strategy, Maseno have taken their training sessions a notch higher by playing friendly matches and participating in local tournaments against stronger opponents. This has been invaluable in seeing off their peers, as Obiero offers.
“Another major secret has been good training back in school and exposing the boys to hard games. For instance, we sometimes play Maseno University which I believe is good exposure to them. This strategy has been instrumental in boosting their confidence as well as the technical prowess.”
A closer look at the way the players spread the floor inhibits a well-drilled team in which every player is versatile enough to play in any position.
He went on, “We have prepared them in a way that every player can be deployed anywhere on the floor. In basketball, it’s not all about the height but the mind and we are making the most of that,” emphasized the tactician.
However, the team seems to have fallen behind the park as teams that were initially deemed as minnows in the region have significantly bridged the gap, hence the need to re-innovate the champion character.
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