Final (12:00 PM-1:00 PM) Saturday, Jun 24, 2006
  1 2 T
Nasr (8-1-0) 31 31 62
Sharh (4-5-1) 30 24 54

The one that got away Jun 28, 2006
by Teepu Khawja  

So close. SO CLOSE. If you werent at the game, I cant emphasize just how close Sharh was to upsetting the 1st place Nasr team. If you ignore the standings, you can imagine what an upset this game would have been considering Nasr whipped Sharh in their regular season meeting 74-41. Nasr was already in trouble as big man Milton Laidley was forced to sit out the match with an injured ankle.

So what made this such a close game? Milton Laidley out, Malik Davis on fire, Ibrahim B playing solid, Ibrahim T playing out of his mind, and free throws. I already described Milton's situation; losing 16.6ppg and 8.4rpg would hurt any team. Malik started the game trying to set the tone by hitting his first 2 3-pointers but his 15 first half points werent enough as Ibrahim T dropped in 11 points of his own taking advantage of the poor low block defending of Nasr; he even managed to hit his only 3-pointer of the game! Ibrahim Baig was playing solid as well carrying over his good game from earlier in the day. Ibrahim B managed to score 11 points in the first half for Sharh as well, but just as importantly was drawing fouls and shot 4-4 from the free throw line. The first half ended with Nasr up only 31-30.

The story of the second half? Malik, Ibrahim B, and Ibrahim T again. Malik continued to be on fire but this time was heading to the line rather than sticking it to Sharh from the oustide. Both Ibrahim's continued their fine play for Sharh. But here is the turning point: remember I said both Ibrahim's went 10-12 from the free throw line in the 2nd half of their earlier game against Sharh? How about 0-7 for their last free throws in this game? That definitely hurt as this game was in striking the distance despite the 62-54 final score (which saw the lead extend due to free throws).

Despite this, the key turning point was when Usman Chaudhry was fouled on a 3 point attempt with Nasr up by just 2 points in the latter part of the game. He was unable to make any of the 3 free throws but managed to make up for it with a steal just moments later for an almost break-away lay-up. Unfortunately Usman broke the cardinal rule of never leaving your feet when passing and turned it over. That series of plays lead to a 5-point turnaround!

Unfortunately for Sharh, things didnt work out for them this game despite excellent games by their players. Nasr, with the faint victory, advances to the championship game awaiting the winner of Humazah vs Kawthar.