AL ETTIHAD battled past Isa Town 72-64 last night while Riffa closed out strong against Sitra to win 77-59 on the first day of action in Week 13 of the Zain Bahrain Basketball League.
Four pressure-packed free-throws with less than 40 seconds to play helped Ettihad escape with the hard-earned win.
Hassan Helal was the first to step up and bury his pair of charity shots to extend Ettihad’s narrow four-point lead to 70-64. After a stop on the defensive end, it was Ahmed Ghanim’s turn to help secure the win as he connected on his own pair of free-throws to peg the final score.
Ettihad were the early aggressors in the game as they took a 23-16 lead at the end of the first quarter. Isa Town managed to turn thing around in the second and take a slim 38-37 advantage at the interval.
In the third, Ettihad managed to regain the lead at 49-48 heading into the final canto. But in the payoff period, Ettihad managed to find their first quarter form and outscore their rivals just enough for the win.
American professional Antwan Wilkerson had 20 points and eight rebounds in a full 40 minutes of work for Ettihad. Helal finished with 15 points and dished out eight assists while Ali Helal added 12 and Sayed Mohammed Hameed 10 points.
For Isa Town, Mansoor Jaber was the top scorer with 21 points. He had three three-pointers. Hassan Ramadhan contributed 16 points and eight rebounds, while Mahmood Aziz had 15 points and eight rebounds as well.
Following the result, Ettihad improved to a 6-6 win-loss record. They have 12 points on the league standings. Isa Town, on the other hand, dropped their 10th game and have just two wins.
In Riffa’s triumph, the victors used a decisive fourth quarter to turn a 53-46 advantage to the 18-point victory.
American professional Marcel Jones led the winners with 32 points and 18 rebounds. Mohammed Hakeem added 17 markers including three three-pointers. Hakeem also finished with four steals. Mohammed Nabeel chipped in with 13 off the bench and Al Asghar had 10 as Riffa’s last scorer in double figures.
US import Kenny Williams paced Sitra’s players with 16 points. He also took down 16 rebounds, dished out six assists and registered three steals before fouling out in the loss.
Following the result, Riffa improved to a 7-5 win-loss record with 14 points in the middle of the league table. Sitra suffered their eighth defeat to go with four victories and eight points.
League action continues tonight with Bahrain Club taking on Hidd at 6pm, followed by a mammoth match-up between title contenders Muharraq and Al Hala at 7.45pm.