Grand Bassa County has made history to retain both the football and basketball titles, and emerged third in kickball competition.
This victory put the Gbehzohn boys to three in shelving the football tiara since the 1950s, second to Grand Kru and Nimba counties who have grabbed the title four times each.
The Gbehzohn boys were rated as the ‘overall winner’ in the 2015/2016 National County Sports Meet.
Bassa whipped Montserrado County 3-1 in lottery shot, following the 1-1 draw after a pulsating one-all 120-minute entertaining football at the crowded Antoinette Tolbert Stadium.
Vice President Joseph Boakai hailed both teams for the ‘game and fairplay,’ and said everyone is a winner.
The tournament’s highest goal scorer and Montserrado County goal puncher, Daniel Tuazama rattled the net in the 12th minute, through a lightning shot in the 20th yard box. The tournament’s most valuable player Markey Morgan gave the assist. The Providence Boys controlled the pace in the first half but failed to increase the tally owing to wide kicks from Markey Morgan and Robert Coleman.
After the break in the 52nd minute, Grand Bassa County’s most sensational player, David Paye rotated the goal, also through a diagonal shot in the 20th yard box.
Inarguably, Bassa’s midfield maestro Kweku Mensah with the help of newly introduced Jefferson Yekeh, changed the second half and statistically, the ball possession rated 55% to 45%.
Montserrado and Bassa goalies Andrew Dunah and Sekou Bayoh were exceptional, though both conceded a goal.
In the dying minutes, Dunah was replaced by Koffa Nimely, while Bayoh went out for Daniel Davies.
Bassa’s goalie Davies again stirred the crowd as he saved two penalty shots and Lizue Kollie struck the winning goal.
Over 5,000 Bassoians, including the President’s Press Secretary Jeremileck Piah, Senators Nyonblee Lawrence and Jonathan Kaipay as well as Gender Minister Julia Duncan Cassell led the wide celebration.
In the semi-finals, Bassa narrowly whipped Bong County 1-0, courtesy to Ralph George’s kick in a scramble ball.
Lofa County was medalled as the 3rd winner owing to a forfeit to Bong County, with a penalty of US$2,500.
In the kickball edition, Nimba County was crowned champion, after she beat Margibi County 4-0. This marked Nimba’s 2nd trophy in six years.
Bassa whipped Montserrado 6-5 points for the 3rd place.
In the basketball version over the weekend defending basketball champions Bassa whipped Grand Kru 57-54 points at the Sports Commission on Broad Street in Monrovia.
Grand Kru County took an early 11-6 point lead in the first quarter, but Grand Bassa came back strongly to win the second quarter 21-20 points.
Grand Bassa continued their splendid performance in the third quarter and what was expected to be the final quarter by taking an eight point lead (46-38 points), but Grand Kru bounced back to level the scores.
Grand Bassa again took a three-point lead in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, but a three-point strike from the South Easterners leveled the scores once again.
And into the final two seconds, Grand Kru grabbed the greatest opportunity that they had longed wished for, with the award of two free throws.
In basketball, free throws, otherwise known as foul shots, are unopposed attempts to score points from a restricted area on the court (the free throw line; informally known as the foul line or the charity stripe), and are generally awarded after a foul on the shooter by the opposing team. Each successful free throw is worth one point.
A player of Grand Kru wearing jersey #10, who was fouled took up the responsibility, but miserably missed all two.
Had he gotten at least one of them, the game would have automatically been off, and Grand Kru was going to emerge as champions, because one or two seconds were not going to be enough for Bassa to come on level.
Following the double misses by Grand Kru, the game’s commissioners (match commissioners) immediately timed the match out, and allocated additional five minutes to find a winner.
It was then that Grand Bassa once again doubled up by going all out to reclaim the trophy they won in the 2013/2014 edition.
Elsewhere in volleyball, Bomi County won three straight sets against Montserrado County to claim the volleyball trophy.
Bomi won the match 25-22, 25-22 and 27-25 to obtain an over 77-69 point victory against Montserrado County in the grand final, which was also played at the Sports Commission on Saturday, January 16.