Debutants, Air Warriors have emerged as the 4th ever champion of the Zenith Women Basketball League.
The Abuja based club defeated fellow debutants MFM Queens 55-53 at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.
In the tightly contested final, Air Warriors led all through the game, ending the first quarter 14-7, the second 34-24 and the third 46-36.
In a spirited efforts to get back into the game, MFM pushed forward in the final quarter as they came within two points of Air Warriors before the Abuja team sealed the win.
Both Air Warriors and MFM will represent Nigeria in the FIBA Africa Zone 3 Champions Cup qualifiers in Cotonou scheduled for 28 October to 3 November.
Henry Oron, the Executive Director of sponsor Zenith Bank Plc, congratulated the new champions and expressed satisfaction at the level of competition in the tournament.
Oron praised all the eight teams in the Final 8 and recalled how the national women’s team, D’Tigress, are African champions, raising the profile of Nigerian basketball.
He commended Zenith Bank’s role in the development of the game and promised that the bank will continue to support women’s and youth sports.
FirstBank finished in third place by trouncing Dolphins 81-36 in a one-sided classification game that preceded the final.
The Elephant Ladies, who were beaten by Air Warriors in the semi-final on Wednesday, were ruthless against their fellow Lagos side, racing to a 21-13 lead by the end of the first quarter.
They extended their lead to 46-25 by the end of the first half and were 65-30 up going into the final quarter.
Ifunanya Okoro of FirstBank was in devastating form, scoring a game-high 30 points and adding six rebounds.
Following this victory, the Air Warriors have become the first Savannah Conference team to win the league as well as the first team to win the championship in their first season.
In the same vein, MFM Queens were formed in 2018 and made it to the semi-finals last year to be defeated by Dolphins whom they defeated in this year’s edition to get to the finals.