JKL Lady Dolphins join National Basketball League class of six

  • JKL Lady Dolphins 66-63 UCU Lady Canons | Lady Dolphins win series 4-0
© Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
JKL Lady Dolphins

Six years ago, Emmanuel Angwella, Fredricks Owora and Gad Eteu conceived ‘Just Kip Livin’ (JKL). The purpose was to give kids opportunities to go to school while playing sport, specifically basketball.

It took the trio a couple of years to start JKL Dolphins Basketball Club – a team made up of school going players, and all boys to start.

“It is all about the development of (youth) players in all aspects of life. We want them to ‘just keep living’ no matter what,” Angwella told Kawowo Sports then.

“This is a group of different players that were hand-picked. We want to nature these guys along the line they wish to if they are not playing basketball,” Eteu added.

In 2015, the women’s club was brought to life and swept through the lower division the subsequent year with a few vets in the mix to join the elite division.

Once in top flight, Fredricks “Freedom” Owora – who handles the day to day running of the club – made significant additions to team to make it competitive in the league that had been dominated by two sides, KCCA Leopards and UCU Lady Canons, since the late 1990s and early 2000s when Lady Bucks were untouchable.

For a team that was playing their first season in the National Basketball League, 2017 was largely a successful year. While they could not live to the hype of breaking the KCCA-UCU dominance, their third place finish in the regular season and playoffs only pointed league success in the near future.

The addition of one of the best shooting guards in the league in Ritah Immanishimwe from rivals UCU Lady Canons and the best coach in the country Mandy Juruni to the team for the 2018 season only made the intentions crystal clear.

© Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
Ritah Imanishimwe (M) was key for JKL Lady Dolphins

Lady Dolphins went on to top the division during the regular season, losing just a single game in the process. At the end of the regular season, it was certain only one of UCU or KCCA would  be in the finals.

The side made light work of UMU Ravens in the first round and shook off A1 Challenge in the semifinals to make the finals in their second season. UCU Lady Canons a side they had beaten in the regular season meetings came through from the other bracket.

The final was the most balanced on paper in nearly three years, but JKL thrived through the opening three games of the series thanks largely to Jamila Nansikombi and Imanishimwe.

© Kawowo Sports | JOHN BATANUDDE
Jamila Nansikombi played MVP basketball

Game 4 was even tougher despite JKL winning the opening quarter 16-10. Lady Canons who were fighting for their lives played hard and Zainah Lokwameri kept Nansikombi under check as the side went into halftime leading.

Lady Dolphins played catch-up in the fourth quarter and did on several occasions but like the first three games of the series, the side took full advantage of UCU’s late turnover to win the game, and ultimately the championship with a 4-0 sweep.

All NBL Winners

  • 2018 – JKL Lady Dolphins
  • 2017 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2016 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2015 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2014 – KCCA Leopards
  • 2013 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2012 – KCCA Leopards
  • 2011 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2010 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2009 – KCCA Leopards
  • 2008 – UCU Lady Canons
  • 2007 – KCCA Leopards
  • 2006 – Lady Bucks
  • 2005 – A1 Challenge
  • 2004 – Lady Bucks
  • 2003 – Makerere Sparks
  • 2002 – Lady Bucks
  • 2001 – Lady Bucks
  • 2000 – Lady Bucks
  • 1999 – Lady Bucks
  • 1998 – Lady Bucks

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