Final (10:00 AM-11:00 AM) Sunday, Jul 2, 2006
  1 2 T
Zilzal (8-1-0) 29 37 66
Bayyina (5-3-1) 29 30 59

Letting it slip away Jul 4, 2006
by Teepu Khawja  

When these teams last met, Zilzal had a huge second half and walked away with a 70-58 win. Ammer Askary had a big game with 33 points for Zilzal while Mohammed Dirie led Bayyina with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

In last weekís preview, we said that Bayyina will need to show up ready to play right from the start and establish Dirie down low as Zilzal is primarily a team of guards. Also, that Bayyina will need to find a way to contain Askary who will still score but Bayyina cannot let him get into a shooting groove or they will find themselves trailing very quickly. And for Zilzal, they would need to work the ball around and drive the lane hard since Bayyina has a short bench so if they get into foul trouble it will impact their ability to play strong defense.

How did our preview go? Not bad. This game was a battle from the start to the very end. Neither team really ever had a secure lead, but one could be excused for thinking that Zilzal would turn this into a blowout based on the way this game started. Ammer Askary went insane on Bayyina going 4-4 from behind the 3-pt arc in the gameís first 10 minutes, with all four being the type where he dribbled the ball the length of the court and just stops at the arc and pops. Adding to this, Anish Bhalla was fired up and asking for the ball as he knocked down his share of jumpers. Somehow, Bayyina managed to keep their composure behind a balanced attack and by getting to the line (they shot 6-8 from the FT line in the first half). Zilzal was forced to call a timeout with 5:38 remaining down 22-21, followed by Bayyina calling a timeout with 1:34 remaining in the 1st half down 27-25. In fact, despite Zizalís hot shooting the half, the game ended in a 29-29 tie with Ammer throwing in 16 points for Zilzal and Mohammed Dirie scoring 8 points and 5 rebounds and Gamada chipping in 9 points for Bayyina.

At the start of the 2nd half, I swear I didnít turn my attention from the game for more than 5 minutes, and the next thing I knew Bayyina had started to blow open the game with a 9 point lead behind some great pressure D, turnovers by Zilzal, and just a lot of missed shots. Zilzal was forced to call a timeout with 15:36 left down 39-31. However, just like Bayyina in the 1st half, Zilzal managed to overcome the wave of offense, and chip away at the lead. The second half also saw a lot more aggressiveness shown by both teams, on top of the 3 point shooting. Ammer Askary had cooled off considerably in the second half from behind the 3-pt arc as he managed to hit only 2-7 in the 2nd half but he picked it up by getting to the line going 6-6 from the FT line in the 2nd half. The first half Zilzal seemed to focus on the Anish and Ammer parts of their 3-headed monster, but the 2nd half saw Neil Sehra become more involved as he hit 1-3 from behind the 3-pt arc and 6-9 from behind the FT line. For Bayyina, Antar became a one-man team as he went to the line 11 times in the 2nd half, but unfortunately he only managed to hit 5-11 in the half. No other player for Bayyina went to the FT line in the 2nd half, though Gamada and both Mohammeds managed to hit for some 2-point shots. With 3:19 left, Bayyina called a timeout down 55-52 after an 11-0 Zilzal run. But after the timeout, Antar went on his own little 6-0 run and Bayyina found themselves up 57-55 with 2:25 left. Antarís mini-run was followed by Ammerís own 5-0 run that put Zilzal up 60-57 with 1:36 left. Bayyina was in a lot of trouble in the last minute of the game as Antar, the only player getting to the line in the 2nd half, fouled out with 1:05 left and Zilzal up 61-57 (with his T for not finding his t-shirt being that much more critical in this game). The last few minutes saw Bayyina fouling on purpose putting Zilzal to the line where they made their FTs. Making matters worse, when Bayyina did have a few chances after Zilzalís FT attempts, a couple of key turnovers prevented them form putting up shots.

In the end, Zilzal prevailed behind Ammerís 32 points and Neilís 20 points while Bayyina saw 4 of their 6 players score in double digits. A great game to watch, and definitely a tough loss for Bayyina. They are a team to watch though if they decide to go after the West championship again next season.