The ‘Halal Hustlers’, Canterbury’s official Muslim Basketball team, have won their second championship, beating off 8 other teams to win the Graham Condon Social League division 2 trophy. Now facing off their arch rivals in the finals, the older and more experienced Bishops, intensity was high.
Adding to the worry, they faced a scary start when two of their confirmed 6 players of the night ran late, leaving only 4 of them playing for the first quarter. Fortunately, the adversity only served to fire up the outnumbered four players on the court and they had double their opponent’s score by end of the first quarter, with guards Hesham Jones and Abdul Baset Khalifa showing spectacular synergy and energy and forward Saleem Richards dominating on isolation plays.
The game thereon was tight. Somali born, Ali Hassan played a strong game and local Kiwi muslim Tyla Hunt, the Final’s MVP award winner, pushed the game through with some critical 3-pointers to keep the Hustler’s in the game. Even so, at 30 seconds left, they held only a one point lead. Then in a veteran play, the bishops drew a charge foul and gained possession of the ball.
In a previous game that lost the Hustlers their chance at a third trophy, the Bishops had a similar situation and won with a jumpshot at the buzzer off a screen play. The Hustlers were adamant that this did not occur again and learning from that stinging defeat, shooting guard Zayid Jones pushed through the screen to shut down the shooter, contesting the final shot and allowing them to win at an 81-80 final score.
(To learn more about the Halal Hustlers or to join our team, please email firstname.lastname@example.org)