*** ----> Al Ahli win tight series opener | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Al Ahli win tight series opener

TDT | Manama                                                      

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Al Ahli drew first blood last night in their Golden Square semi-final series against long-time nemesis Muharraq in the 2023/2024 Khalifa bin Salman Cup basketball tournament.

Ahli won game one of their best-of-three series 111-100 yesterday at Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town.

The victors ended the contest with a decisive 11-0 run in the final two minutes that broke a 100-all deadlock en route to the final whistle.

The winner of this semis match-up will move on to the final where they will face the victor of the other Golden Square clash between Manama and Al Hala.

Manama enjoy the early advantage after winning game one 84-71.

Game two for both series is scheduled for April 5, while game three, if needed, will be held on April 8. In last night’s contest, Ahli were the early aggressors and they took a 31-22 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The second period belonged to Muharraq, however, and they came alive and outscored their opponents by 12, 32-20, to take a slim 54-51 lead into the interval.

Mohammed Qurban buried a three-pointer right before the half-time buzzer to reduce the deficit for Ahli.

The two teams continued the tight battle in the third and Muharraq powered ahead 66-57 following a Bader Abdulla Malabes basket.

But Ahli responded well and closed the quarter out on a 20-11 run to tie the proceedings at 77-apiece with only the final frame to play.

Back-to-back There , back - to - back three-pointers from Mohammed Juma’a and Tyler Wilkerson gave Muiharraq an 89-88 edge early in the quarter, and later a Malabes three-point play put them up 92-90.

Both sides continued to trade baskets, until a James Ennis triple on the fast-break gave Ahli the lead for good, 103-100, with only two minutes to play.

Moultrie extended the advantage with a pair of free-throws, while Ennis and Hesham Sarhan also converted both their charity shots.

Ennis then had a slam dunk with under 20 seconds remaining to peg the final score and Ahli’s 11-point win. Moultrie finished with a game-high 30 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds.

Ennis finished with 28 and almost had a triple-double, taking down 12 boards and dishing out seven assists. Ahmed Aldurazi added 15 for Ahli, while Sarhan had 14 off the bench.

For Muharraq, Tyler Wilkerson was their top scorer with 29 points, while Ricky Ledo had 25 and Malabes 21. Muharraq and Al Ahli both advanced to the semi-finals with contrasting wins.

Muharraq pulled off a miraculous comefrom-behind 114-105 overtime victory against Al Najma to advance, while Ahli booked their place following a resounding 90-70 win over Nuwaidrat.

Manama won last year’s Khalifa bin Salman Cup after defeating Muharraq 75-72 in the final. The result marked the second time Manama won the prestigious trophy.

Their first was in the 2017/2018 season.