HBKU Basketball League comes to an end with GU SFS-Q women and CMU-NUQ men declared champions
November 17, 2013
By Shakeeb Asrar
A combined Northwestern University and Carnegie Mellon University joint men’s basketball team and Georgetown’s Lady Hoyas women’s basketball team clinched their respective championships in the Hamad Bin Khalifa University Basketball tournament that ended Saturday afternoon.
The Carnegie Mellon-Northwestern Wildscotts men’s team defeated the Georgetown Hoyas in the finals by a score of 33-29, while the Lady Hoyas claimed victory over Weill Cornell’s Big Red Bears by a score of 35-20.
The final matches took place at HBKU Student Center, in front of cheering crowds of students, faculty and staff from the participating universities.
“The level of competition this year was relatively higher than last year,” said Evan Witt, basketball coach for the Wildscotts team. “Though our team remained undefeated throughout the league, we had to play very hard.”
The women’s final match between the Lady Hoyas and WCMC-Q’s Bears started at 2:15pm. Throughout the match, Hoyas’s score remained ahead of the Bears, coming closest at the end of first half with a score of 12-15. The last basket of the match that asserted the Lady Hoyas’ victory was scored two minutes before the end of the game.
“We had one of the toughest defenses and I think that’s what made us win,” said Jacqui Snell, the women’s basketball coach at GU SFS-Q. “Plus, many of the new recruits this year had prior basketball experience, forming a strong foundation. That gave us an edge too.”
Half of GU SFS-Q’s women’s team consisted of those new recruits, and according to Snell, they all clicked with each other in the early stages of training, a collaborative team atmosphere that helped the team develop.
The team’s strong sense of teamwork and unity was also one of the reasons that lead to the victory of the Wildscotts, said Zuhair Mohammed, the captain of the team and a student at CMU-Q.
“We had no arguments, no issues, and it was this team character that helped us win,” Mohammed said.
The final playoff between the Wildscotts and Hoyas took off at 3:45pm. Zach Hollo, a sophomore at NU-Q, secured the first point through a free throw but 10 minutes into the game, both teams had five points.
The Wildscotts had a strong offense and consistently scored baskets. The Hoyas put in a solid defense but the game ended in favor of the Wildscotts. Zehni Khairullah, a sophomore at CMU-Q, scored 17 points, which was the highest total by a single player during the game.
When asked about any team member who surprised others with his performance, Mohammed replied, “All of them! You want me to list my whole team?”
The Wildscotts and Lady Hoyas were the two teams that remained undefeated throughout the basketball league that took place before this weekend’s tournament.
However, not everyone returned as happy from the court as the champions.
“We did not have enough opportunities to book the basketball court for training,” said Amer Anouti, coach of WCMC-Q’s women’S basketball team, which qualified for the finals for the first time this year. “If more time would have been given to us to practice in the court, it would have definitely helped us perform better.”
Anouti said he hopes the league’s management pays more attention to equal booking of the court prior to the tournament next year.
The semi-finals of the basketball league, which took place Friday evening at the HBKU student center, were as intense as the final matches.
During the men’s semi-final between GU SFS-Q and WCMC-Q, the game went into overtime twice. During the second overtime, the SFS-Q team scored and qualified for finals with a score of 32-31.
The women’s semi-final between NU-Q and WCMC-Q also turned intense after Nissryne Dib, a junior at NU-Q, fell and was knocked out in the final minutes of the game. An ambulance had to be called in to transfer Dib to the hospital. The game ended with a final score of 23-21 to Cornell.