HBA Super Six Gameweek 15 Review: Hounds recover, Hornets finally find their sting


Fans of the HBA Super Six celebrated Youth Day in the best way on Wednesday – watching some scintillating basketball action at Sunrise Sports Club in Belvedere.  

Everyone who attended the games was surely not disappointed, as the surprises keep coming in Harare’s elite basketball league. 

The headline of Gameweek 15 was the triumph (finally!) of bottom-placed Harare City Hornets over Fillies. 

In the Men’s division, Hounds went back to winning ways, while it never rains but pours for UZ Stars and Mbare Bulls. 

Gameweek 15 marks the end of Round 3 of games played, and as we look forward to Round 4, the standings remained unchanged in both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions. 

Don’t call it just yet, though. If you’ve been paying attention since the start of 2024, wonders never cease in the Super Six. Anything can happen with just ten Gameweeks left.

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Hornets find their sting! — In Gameweek 15, Harare City Hornets won their first game of the season, against Fillies

Gameweek 15 Wrap: Super Six Men’s   

The first Men’s game played on Youth day was an uneven match between log leaders JBC and bottom-of-the-table UZ Stars. Of course, UZ Stars were walloped by a staggering 47 points to end the game at 35-82. 

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Ruthless — JBC defeated bottom-placed UZ Stars by 47 points

Alfred Taimoni was the outstanding player on the JBC bench with 17 points and 9 rebounds, while Mukukula finished the day with 15 points. Tashinga Chiimba recorded his third double-double in as many games - 13 points and 11 rebounds. 

The second game of the day pitted midtable rivals Basket Hounds and Leopards Academy, who were both coming off defeats in Gameweek 14. In the end though, it was Hounds who wanted it more, taking the game 80-64.

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Hounds go hunting — Tip-off at Sunrise Sports Club as Basket Hounds were seeking to bounce back from their Gameweek 14 loss to Bucs

Speaking to ZimSphere Sports after the game, Hounds coach Mr Nemutambwe expressed his delight at the bounce-back, saying;

“I’m obviously feeling relieved, we really needed this win.”

Hounds had started the game on the backfoot, but they quickly recovered and went to halftime tied at 39 points. The coach attributed the slow start to early game jitters, but the players quickly shook them off and upped their defense. 

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Coach Nemutambwe (in white golf shirt) instructing his charges 

“We started off badly missing open shots but we got back into the game through transition plays; and we managed to create open shots for ourselves. We worked extra in defense because of our size,” said Nemutambwe. 

The Vitalis Chikoko-owned franchise found their bite in the second half of the game, taking a 9-point lead in the third quarter, which delivered the final score. The Coach stood by his tactics under pressure and led his charges to victory, as he explained;

“We had to reinforce our strategy. I just reminded the boys to continue running in proper lanes and have the courage to take the open shots.”

Hounds’ starman Innocent Zhomwa was out with a knee injury, but that didn’t stop the team from winning – a show of the depth. 

Ex-JBC man Rolland Changara delivered the biggest points on the Hounds bench with and 19 points, plus 5 rebounds; while Mukwesha posted 15 points. Munyaradzi Manyeza impressed in defense, taking 12 rebounds and contributing 7 points.

Nineteen year old Tavonga Muvezwa’s profile in the Super Six keeps rising, and on Gameweek 15, he went home with 17 points and 8 rebounds. Nemutambwe showered praises on the teenager, saying;

“The kid is just amazing! I’ve been having a lot of conversations with him and working on his mindset. I feel it’s still work in progress, but I’m definitely impressed by his work ethic and performance lately.”

On the Leopards bench, Munashe Makumbe posted 20 points and took 5 rebounds, Nyasha Ngove finished the day with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Chris Nadolo scored 10 points and took 8 rebounds.

In the final game of the day, Arcadia Bucs consolidated their second position with a 60-47 win over fifth-placed Mbare Bulls. 

Bulls finished the first quarter trailing by 7 points, and they never recovered. Although the Bucs showed signs of fatigue in the final quarter, the work they’d put in the first three quarters was enough to deliver their second victory in a row. 

Dumisani Moyo posted 14 points, while of course, man-of-the-moment Fred Alick went home with 11 points.

On the Bulls’ bench, Warren Tegama delivered 15 points, while Tichaona Chinyanganya finished the day with 14 points. 

The standings seem to be set in stone, as JBC sit comfortably atop the log table with 29 points; five ahead of second placed Arcadia Bucs who have 24 points. Basket Hounds trail closely at third with 23 points, followed by Leopards Academy with 22 points. Easy-beats Mbare Bulls and UZ Stars complete the standings at fifth with 18 points, and last with 17 points respectively.

Gameweek 15 Wrap: Super Six Women’s

The first match of Gameweek 15 started off with nothing but fireworks as Harare City Hornets found some rare form which gave them their first victory of the entire season. Hornets defeated fifth-placed Fillies 42-38 in a tightly contested game. 

Hornets coach Mr Marembe spoke to ZimSphere Sports after the game, and he was obviously elated; saying;

“It feels so good to win, especially after that long. It motivates the team. The ladies played their hearts out. They wanted it more.”

Both teams went to halftime tied at 18 points, but it was Hornets that opened the lead in third quarter, scoring 11 points versus Fillies’ meagre 4. Fillies tried to recover in the final quarter, but Hornets hung on for a 4-point win. In the end, it was defense that won the game. Coach Marembe showed his tactical brilliance in breaking down his approach for the Fillies game. 

“We have been playing zone defense in most of our games, but against Fillies we shifted to man to man defense; which helped in dealing with the outside shooting. We knew Tariro (Zvinisai) shoots from anywhere and (Fadzai) Chinyundo loves penetrating and slashing a lot, so we had to isolate those two. 

“They played full court press on us, but with twin point guarding from Pauline Amon and Trish Muringazuva we knew we would cross the line and get to the hoop,” he explained.

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File photo — Hornets in Gameweek 14 vs Blades

Indeed, it was Pauline Amon who made the difference for Hornets. She played the entire game, finishing with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds. Coach Marembe had this to say about his star player;

“Pauline has been a splendid and valuable edition for the team, the numbers she has been putting up say it all. She is coming from maternity break, but she’s doing amazing things for us on both ends of the court. 

“We are trying to get her conditioned more, and in future she can surpass the numbers she has been putting on stat sheet.” 

The defensive brilliance of Point Guard Trish Muringazuva cannot be overlooked, as she managed to take 12 rebounds, while her teammates Chipidza and Maphosa one-upped her and took 13 rebounds each. 

Despite the win, Coach Marembe revealed that his team are more focused on the fundamentals, rather than keeping up with the others. 

“We always play to compete, but surviving Super Six isn't one of the most important things for us now. 

“We were more focused on rebuilding the team, the development of players then competition. We have archived that, which is a huge win for us,” he declared.

The second game of the day was a must-win encounter for both Blades and Bunnies, who went into Gameweek 15 tied at 20 points. In the end, new girls Blades showed their edge, taking the game 42-39.

Blades went to halftime trailing by 6 points, but they turned on the heat in the final quarter, scoring 19 points. 

Of course, Thelma ‘Captain Fantastic’ Goredema did it for the Blades, playing 33 minutes and scoring 13 points. Victoria Makamure and Chido Willie impressed in defense with 16 and 12 rebounds respectively.

In the final game of the Women’s division, UZ Sparks flexed their muscles against second-placed Vixens, winning the game 53-48. Sparks were in the lead for the entire game, as Vixens fell short of the 2023 National League Champions’ standard. 

Tadiwa Mabika delivered only the third double-double of the day with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Tapiwa Verengai continued on her fine form, playing 33 minutes and posting 12 points. Talent Dziya had 10 points.

Cynthia Mukwesha came off the Vixens bench and put up 12 points, while taking 8 rebounds. Ellen Chikoto and Charity Mucucuti had 10 points each. 

At the end of Gameweek 15, the Women’s Division also seems to be set in stone as UZ Sparks now lead the table with 28 points, two ahead of second-placed Vixens. Despite their win, Blades are at third with 22 points, four behind Vixens. They’re followed closely by Bunnies with 21 points at fourth, while Fillies are also close by at 19 points. Hornets’ win put them at 16 points, still anchored at the bottom. 

Gameweek 16 Preview: Round 4 Begins

In a league with 25 games but just six teams, you’re going to be meeting your rival more often than you would like. This is the case with Gameweek 16, which ushers in Round 4 of games. 

Games are being played tomorrow, starting at 1000.

In the games to be played at the home of Harare Basketball, Sunrise Sports Club, Bunnies and Harare City Hornets start off the festivities in a rematch from Gameweek 11. Hornets will be looking to take advantage of their new-found form and take their second win of the season.

In the second game, Fillies are up against Vixens. This promises to be a game and a half as both teams are coming off losses in Gameweek 15. 

Blades got their first taste of the Super Six in Gameweek 11 by way of a defeat to log leaders UZ Sparks. This time though, they’re counting on some good form and some decent experience to take their revenge against the Sparks in the final game of the Women's Division. 

In the first game of the Men’s Division, Basket Hounds are up against cellar-dwellers UZ Stars. The Hounds need to be wary though, as UZ Stars might just have their Lazarus moment at this here first game of Round 4. 

Mbare Bulls take on JBC, in their second meetup since Mbare Bulls pillaged five players from the log leaders during the January transfer window. The last time they met, only eight points made the difference, in JBC’s favour of course. This is a game to look forward to, as scores will be settled on the court. 

In the final game of the day, Arcadia Bucs and Leopards Academy juke it out just 21 days since their last meetup. In Gameweek 12, it was Leopards that managed to take the victory, but things have changed since then. Expect the unexpected for this one. 

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