Final (1:00 PM-2:00 PM) Sunday, Jan 28, 2007
  1 2 T
Inshirah (4-4-0) 31 27 58
Tamjeed (3-5-0) 27 30 57

Minor infractions, Major Implications Jan 30, 2007
by Teepu Khawja  

Forgot your team shirt? Accidentally throw out an expletive in the excitement of the moment? Its just 2 free throw and a possession. Big deal. Right? This game proved why even the smallest unnecessary mistake could have major implications.

When these 2 teams met in the regular season, Inshirah blew out their opponents 69-36. In this game, Tamjeed's victory would rest on the low post defence of Wheeler and Hussaini and the offence of their young guards, the Chaudhry brothers.

This game started off confusedly as Tamjeed's Genghiz, one of their leaders and primary weapons, was present for prayers prior to the start of the game, however had disappeared before tip-off. After strategizing over how to proceed without him, Tamjeed caught a break by being awarded 2 technicals and possession as Inshirah's Syed did not have his team shirt.

The game started off poorly for Tamjeed as their offence just wasn't clicking and their defence was betraying them. Inshirah's Azam quickly hit 2 3-pointers, combined with some easy buckets for their big man, catapulted them to a quick lead over Tamjeed. However, despite the quick start, Inshirah began to cool and Tamjeed's young guns began to settle down and find a rhythm. In fact, at the 8:36 mark of the first half, Tamjeed had tied the score at 15-15. Tamjeed started gaining momentum as they ran their lead up to 20-17 off of a dagger of a 3-bomb by Anas. Unfortunately for Tamjeed, Anas got caught up in the excitement and dropped a different bomb as well (i.e. the F-bomb) which quickly cut short his team's momentum as Inshirah was awarded 2 free throws and the possession. The game was quickly tied at 20-20 and Tamjeed soon found themselves trailing 24-20 after 2 quick baskets by Geoff Edwards. The half ended with Inshirah up 31-27, lead by Geoff with 10 points, while Anas lead Tamjeed with 12 points.

The second half saw more balanced scoring on the part of Inshirah with Kareem Tony stepping up to add some more punch alongside Geoff and Justin while Tamjeed actually saw their offensive distribution tighten. Luckily for Tamjeed, Ahmed more than picked up the scoring slack for the rest of his teammates. Fouls played a key role in the 2nd half, as Wheeler was already handcuffed with 4 fouls after the 1st half and had to contend with Inshirah's big men knowing that his next foul would be his last, and Hussaini and Anas picking up fouls later in the half. Inshirah began to capitalize on Tamjeed's foul troubles and began attacking the rim relentlessly rather than settling for outside shots, as evidenced by the number of free throws attempted, particularly by Kareem. However, not to be outdone, Ahmed Chaudhry made sure that he would also be shooting the freebies. The grand sum of these observations is that the 2nd half was a see-saw battle; we saw Inshirah up 37-34 and then the game tied at 39 after an Ahmed jumper, then Inshirah up 44-39 and seemingly pulling away before Tamjeed closed to 50-48, and then the game tied at 51 after Ahmed hits a 3, etc. etc.

With 1:06 left in the half, the game seemed to almost over as Inshirah protected a 57-53 lead and Justin at the free throw line. Unfortunately for Inshirah's big men, their free throw shooting woes continued and Justin missed his free throws. Anis then found himself at the free throw line and only managed to hit 1 of 2, cutting the lead to 57-54. Inshirah was unable to capitalize on offence and Tamjeed found themselves with the ball with under 20 seconds to play in Inshirah's end and down 3. Incredibly, Mohammed Syed fouls Anas on a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left and fouls himself out of the game. With the chance to tie, the pressure seemed too much for the youngster as he missed all 3 free throws. Tamjeed's Hussaini managed to get offensive rebound off the 3rd miss, but was then called for a double dribble as he dribbled out to the 3-point line and pump faked trying to force a call. Wheeler had to foul Kareem on the inbound play and Tony managed to hit only 1 of 2 free throws giving Inshirah a 58-54 lead and surely (?) the win. Tamjeed quickly raced down and Ahmed hit a 3 with 5.6 seconds left and his team down 1. Tamjeed quickly applied the full court press and managed to get Inshirah to commit a 5-second violation, leaving them 0.6 seconds to try and get a shot off and win the game. Inexplicably, knowing that 0.6 seconds was only enough time to tip in a shot, Tamjeed decided to inbound to Ahmed on the wing outside the 3-point line rather than pass towards the basket. Inshirah's defence forced Ahmed to take a dribble which ate up the clock and left Inshirah with the slim win.

With the 1 point win, you can see how Anas or Azam's swearing violations, or Syed's t-shirt offence and the resulting free throws could have swung this game in Tamjeed's favour. Tamjeed will have to wait until next season to show the growing skills of the Chaudhry brothers while Inshirah gears up to face division leaders Qadr in what is sure to be a physical and intense match.