Kursi knew that they were facing a tough opponent in Zilzal, but things got even tougher when it was learned that centre Steve Selkirk was unavailable for the game. Playing with only six players against a full Zilzal squad that loves to run and gun meant that Zilzal would have to avoid getting into foul trouble and use their bench wisely.
|Zilzal wins game after a strong second half
||Jun 28, 2006
Zilzal started off strong as Ammer Askary took advantage of the double teams he faced and found open teammates for easy baskets. Allan Miller tried to keep Kursi close hitting some mid-ranger jumpers. Kursi called a timeout with 2:20 left in the first half and trailing 19-13 and hoping to close the gap a bit before halftime. Kursi was able to get a stop of defense and when the first half ended the Zilzal lead was at 22-18. Askary led the way with 10 points and 4 rebounds while Miller paced Kursi with 9 points.
The second half saw Zilzal start settling into a groove as well as Kursi begin to tire and get into foul trouble. Yet despite the obvious fatigue the Kursi starters refused to sub off for a quick rest. Also Kursi managed to light a fire under some of the Zilzal shooters when guard Zoohair Sardouk decided to start trash talking with Askary, Neil Sehra and Anish Bhalla – Zilzal’s big guns. This strategy was clearly a mistake as Zilzal pushed the ball and Askary seemed intent on humbling Sardouk – highlighted by a drive that saw Askary dribble the ball through Sardouk’s legs before coasting on for an easy lay-up. Sardouk’s antics hurt his team as Zilzal went on a big run and pulled away from Kursi on the scoreboard; Sardouk was unable to match his words with any good plays as he turned the ball over and was unable to hit any shots. The final dagger was a three pointer drilled in Sardouk’s face by Sehra.
The game ended with Zilzal winning 52-39, Askary led the way 16 points and 9 rebounds for Zilzal. Sehra finished with 13 points, while Abdul-Rehman Khan and Bhalla finished with 10 points each. Kursi was led by Miller with 17 points and Del Campbell with 8 points. Sardouk finished with only 5 points and only hurt his team with his trash talking that helped to spark Zilzal’s run.
Both teams did not shoot particularly well from beyond the arc as Zilzal shot 3 for 15 and Kursi shot 3 for 21. Zilzal was strong from the free throw line hitting 17 of 22 while Kursi was a poor 10 for 21.
Zilzal will now move on to play Bayyina in the semi-finals and is hoping to repeat the results from the last time they met where Zilzal won by a score of 70-58.