This year’s West finals was poised to be a great match-up between two very different styles of play as Zilzal’s run-and-gun offense would face Fatiha’s strong team defence. Both teams came into this game on the heels of overtime victories in their semi-final games and the adrenaline was still running high. The key for Fatiha would be to contain Ammer Askary as much as possible while Zilzal would need to work harder on the glass to avoid getting out-rebounded by a large margin.
|Fatiha uses team ball and great defence to win championship
||Jun 28, 2007
Fatiha started the game off well as Deklon Roberts cut up the Zilzal defense with some strong drives to the basket. After 5 minutes of play, Fatiha had built a 12-7 lead and Roberts had scored 10 points. Fatiha continued to play well and with 9:20 left in the half had a 21-13 lead but foul trouble had put them over the limit so Zilzal would be in a Bonus situation the rest of the half. Fatiha’s foul troubles were compounded with Mark Dewairy picked up his third foul with 6:43 left and was forced to the bench. Zilzal started to make their push as Neil Sehra and Askary started to heat up from the three point area and by the 5:30 mark, Fatiha was clinging to a 25-23 lead. Both teams traded baskets the rest of the half and after 20 minutes, Fatiha had a 31-30 lead.
Roberts finished the half with 19 points and 4 rebounds to lead Fatiha while Askary led Zilzal with 14 points. Sehra finished with 10 points in the half and his deft shooting was helped Zilzal get back into this game.
The second half saw Zilzal take the lead at the 16:10 mark after an Askary lay-up to make it a 34-33 game. For the next 10 minutes the teams would remain neck and neck as neither team was able to take a lead and keep it. Dewairy got back into the game and despite being in foul trouble was able to make his mark as he came up with a pair of big blocks and followed up with some baskets to give his team a 46-41 lead with 5:51 left. Fatiha tried to push their lead and found Sherif Shehata in transition for a break-away lay-up but Anish Bhalla chased him down and got away with a foul while preventing the basket. Bhalla let his emotions get the better of him and spiked the ball which earned him a technical and his fourth foul of the game. Fatiha managed to get their lead to 6 points but with 2:40 left, Sehra drilled a 3-pointer to make it a 50-47 game. Fatiha was unable to score on their next possession and when Zilzal got the ball back Askary drew a shooting foul where he hit both free throws to make it a 50-49 game with 1:50 left. Mike Jacobs got the ball for Fatiha and was fouled in a single bonus situation but he missed his first free throw and Zilzal got the ball back with a chance to take the lead. Zilzal pushed the ball up-court and found Sehra open for a three-point attempt which rimmed out and Roberts was able to grab the rebound before being fouled. Roberts split his two free throws to give Fatiha a 51-49 lead. Zilzal came back with another opportunity to take the lead but Bhalla missed an open shot and committed his fifth foul trying to get the rebound. Jacobs was sent to the line where he hit his first shot but missed the second where he was able to grab the rebound and was fouled again. After hitting both free throws, Jacobs gave Fatiha a 54-49 lead with 41 seconds left. Askary came back and attempted a three pointer which went wide and Zilzal was forced to foul Roberts who grabbed the rebound. Roberts split his two free throws to give Fatiha a 55-49 lead. Zilzal came back down court but with the clock against them and Fatiha’s defence digging in they were unable to score the rest of the way allowing Fatiha to win the game and the West Championship by a 55-49 final score.
Askary led all scorers with 28 points while Sehra pitched in with 14 points for Zilzal in a losing cause. Fatiha was led by Roberts with 24 points and 9 rebounds while Jacobs finished with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Fatiha out rebounded Zilzal by a 31-24 tally and their defense was able to force Zilzal to take tough shots on every possession.
Fatiha wins their first championship after a great season and playoff run where they had to beat Tamjeed, Ikhlas and Zilzal who were very tough opponents. The championship was also the first for Teepu Khawja who was the hero of the semi-final game and was seen holding his medal long after the game was over.
Congratulations to Fatiha on their championship!!