Final (11:00 AM-12:00 PM) Sunday, Jan 25, 2009
  1 2 T
Falaq (10-0-0) 17 18 35
Asr (8-2-0) 14 15 29

Unperfect Game, But a Perfect Season Anyways Dec 31, 1969
by Teepu Khawja  

For a championship game, this was a VERY low scoring affair. Luckily, it was a close one and had plenty of suspense. Based on the final score, it comes as no surprise that the game started sloppily by both teams and was marked with plenty of turnovers. Falaq’s Jeff was called for a technical early in the game after getting fouled on a put back but with no foul called. Asr’s Yasir hit both free throws to bring his team within 8-6 with 13:30 left in the half.

It was clear from the onset that Falaq didn’t respect its opponent, which likely caused them to play sloppy. Two plays supported this clearly when Eric Ventura left Ali Shahid and Nael wide open on different plays resulting in an open driving lay-up and 3-pointer that gave Asr a 9-8 lead with 11:00 left in the half. Unfortunately for Asr they were hacking and were getting called for bad fouls, putting Falaq into the bonus situation with 7:12 left in the half with a 12-11 lead; fortunately for Asr, Team Falaq and primarily Jeff could not convert on their FTs (1-8 in the half). With 3:40 left, the game was still stalled at 12-11 for Falaq. The closing seconds got interesting as Asr’s Ali was again disrespected and left wide open for a 3 which he hit to tie the game at 14-14. Falaq’s Eric Ventura countered by dribbling down the clock and then hitting a straight-away 3 to regain the lead and enter halftime up 17-14.

The 2nd half started off with Asr hacking again, committing 3 quick fouls in the first 2 minutes of the half. Falaq began capitalizing on Asr’s propensity for fouling and their poor rebounding by taking a 23-18 lead with 14:40 left in the game. But then Falaq seemed to relax again and committed consecutive turnovers which, followed by a Ziyaad 3-pointer, allowed Asr to close within 23-22 with 12:20 left in the game. Asr took a temporary lead until Falaq’s Bilal M. entered the game (Falaq’s first substitution) and quickly banked a deep straight-away jumper to give his team the 26-25 lead with 9:20 left. With 6 minutes remaining, Falaq’s captain Wassim converted on a huge And-1 play that gave his team the 29-25 lead. Asr continued hacking and put Falaq into the bonus situation with 3:40 left, but again, luckily Falaq was shooting poorly from the charity stripe. With 1:40 left, Asr’s Yasir hit a key jumper to bring his team within 2 points, 31-29.

Unfortunately, Asr just didn’t have enough gas and didn’t execute down the stretch well, often forcing drives through Falaq’s zone and getting stripped. However, some could legitimately argue that the refs swallowed their whistles on a couple of plays. Asr’s Ali missed the front-end of his bonus opportunity and Asr was forced to intentionally foul Falaq with 10 seconds remaining. Eric hit 1 of 2 free throws to make it 34-29. The game ended with Falaq winning 35-29 and completing a perfect season en route to its first championship.