Final (11:00 AM-12:00 PM) Saturday, Jun 14, 2008
  1 2 T
Nasr (5-2-0) 28 26 54
Kawthar (3-3-1) 28 20 48

Nasr Storms to Victory Jun 18, 2008
by Kashif Taqiuddin  

Both of these teams have played well throughout the season but this would be the moment to prove which one would be better. Kawthar traditionally sticks to a strong inside game led by their "big two" of Martin Konecny and Kevin Smith. Nasr, on the other hand, is infamous for their long distance game. Often they live and die by the three ball. This has proven fatal in the past.

The two teams started well as they exchanged baskets, however it was the three-ball that opened things up for both teams. Aravinthan Ehamparam and Martin Konecny would both sink a long bomb each while Farhan Abdi would answer back with one of his own for Nasr. With two minutes played only the score was already 10-9 for Kawthar. That's when things suddenly slowed down. Both teams tightened their defenses and limited the potential scoring opportunities. Still, it was Kawthar that would slowly chip in the baskets and with 13:28 remaining Nasr called a time-out as they were trailing 15-9. The time-out was a good call as it allowed Nasr to change up their strategy which led them to some quick buckets. With eight minutes remaining Nasr had completed their comeback by tying the game at 19-19. The remainder of the half saw both teams constantly trade baskets and when the buzzer sounded the teams were tied 28-28.

The second half of the game was completely different. Maybe it was the fact that Sanel Sehic entered the game 1:00 minute into the second half. He should be thankful that his team battled strong in the first half without him. But i won't put much emphasis on Sanel as he concentrated more on passing the ball and only finished with two free throws by the end of the game. No, the second half was mostly about Walied and Kevin Smith. Both players played respectably for their teams in the first half but in the second half they showed how dearly they wanted to win the game.

Kawthar played their offense as expected. They attacked the rim over and over. They had 15 free throw attempts in the first half and that trend continued in the second. This time it was Kevin who constantly found himself at the line. He was absolutely fired up and racing for rebounds. His tenacity earned him numerous trips to the line. However, Walied was matching his play on the other end of the floor. Walied would score a basket and then sink the three-ball just moments later. He would then score two more jumpers and sink another three-ball. Walied was absolultey on fire and his 12-point run put his team up 45-36 with just 6:30 remaining prompting Kawthar to call a time-out. Unfortunately for Kawthar they were reeling. Their offense was breaking down, not because of Kevin Smith but surprisingly because of Martin. Both Kevin and Martin are relied on as the go-to men but Martin was not playing with the level of energy that everyone was accustomed to. The burden was left on Kevin and the task was too much.

The plays following the time-out were not beneficial for Kawthar. Walied was still on fire as he would find himself on the free throw and then moments later he would sink his third trey of the half in as many attempts. Adit Mehta would manage to score two baskets of his own from beyond the arc but it was all too late. Nasr was coasting to victory and nothing could be done to stop them. The game ended with Nasr winning 54-48.

Walied was the man of the game. He finished with 24 points and scored 18 of 26 points for Nasr in the second half. At times it appeared as if he would never miss. Kevin Smith also had a great game and finished with 14 points. He was disappointed by the fact that he missed 6 of his 13 free throws in the game as that was the margin that his team lost by. Surprisingly, Konecny finished with a team high 17 points. Even when it appears as if the big man is having a bad game he finished with exceptional results. That makes it even more alarming to think what he can do if he was on his game. The victory was Nasr's and they advance to play Al-Masad.