The season's first playoff match saw the 3rd seeded Qariyah face the 6th seded Adiyat. Qariyah seemed a bit nervous at the beginning of game as they were entering this match without any bench players. League MVP Zahir Kolia was present however sidelined with an ankle injury. Also present was the soft spoken veteran and big man Bilal Tayara. Unfortunately Tayara was ruled ineligible for the playoffs as he did not meet the minimum game requirement for the regular season. As for Adiyat they appeared ready for this match but were without 6'5" Mohammed Assad who can sometimes show up and be the "X" factor in a game.
|Qariyah Dusts Off Adiyat
||Jan 22, 2008
The match started with a good pace as both teams looked for opportunities in the paint hoping for some easy buckets. That wasn't as easy as both teams had plenty of big men who were more than determined to keep the opposition off the glass. Still that wasn't enough to stop Qariyah as Ahmir Butt and Justin Colley managed to find ways to slash their way in for the bucket. On the other end Adiyat was looking towards their MVP Ahmed Assad to score some baskets. They set up many plays for him down low forcing the defense to collapse on him. Still Assad managed to get a few baskets but it was the long range game that kept Adiyat on pace with Qariyah in this half. With the defensive concentration on Assad, Zaiem Tareen and Manny Sidhu were able to spot up from 3-point land and nail several triples. When the half ended Qariyah appeared nervous but still led 21-18.
In the second half things seemed like they were going to get even tighter. Qariyah tried to run away with things but Adiyat would always keep close. With just 4:00 played in the half Qariyah called a time-out to talk things through while leading 26-24. The stoppage in play made no difference as Adiyat continued to pace Qariyah. Ten minutes into the half and Qariyah was up 32-30. But that's when it all started to crumble for Adiyat.
Qariyah picked up their intensity especially when attacking the hoop. That resulted in numerous free throw opportunities and Adiyat quickly found themselves in foul trouble. Even worse was the fact that Ahmed Assad was neutralized. Qariyah was playing an excellent defensive game and their team rotated well denying Adiyat to get any passes inside to Assad. Frustrated and confused Adiyat suddenly switched to an outside game. Virtually every shot they then settled for was a three-point attempt. Unfortunately they didn't sink a single attempt. They shot a miserable 0-12 in the second half. With 4 minutes left to play Adiyat was trailing 37-30. They scoring drought approached 10 minutes.
Meanwhile Ahmir Butt and Justin Colley shot superbly from the free throw line ensuring that their team stays ahead of Adiyat. With 3 minutes left Adiyat finally scored a basket but that would be there only one in the last 10 minutes of the game. Qariyah cruised to victory 41-32. Colley led the effort for Qariyah on this game and picked up 12 points with 4 rebounds. Ahmir Butt led all scorers with 13 rebounds and added 7 rebounds. As mentioned Ahmed Assad was neutralized and failed to record a double-double; something that became rather routine for him. He finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Adiyat's season comes to an end but they showed some great signs of improvement. It will be interesting to see how they will regroup and if they will be back to face the challenge again.