The finalists of the ‘A’ division Mercantile Basketball League were decided last evening at the Henry Pedris Basketball court as Commercial Credit and FairFirst defeated Sampath Bank  and DFCC respectively.

Sampath Bank vs Commercial Credit

Sampath started things off taking the first shot of the game. Moments after they moved into a man to man defense and rejected the Commercial Credit offensive attempts. The Sampath Bank players had a preference for taking jump shots and 3 pointers as they managed to take a slight lead during the first few minutes of the game. This didn’t last for long however as Commercial Credit took control of the game following a couple of fast breaks. Commercial Credit was also in favour of a man to man defense which Sampath found difficult to get through. Commercial Credit dominated the rebounds getting numerous second shot opportunities and focused on finishing strong near the rim. As the game approached half time Sampath was trailing behind by 6 points.

Half-time: Sampath Bank-24 Commercial Credit-30

Commercial Credit had an advantage when it came to speed which they used to their benefit, stealing the ball off their opponents and converting into successful shooting opportunities. Commercial Credit had a tight defense but they lost track of the foul count, giving Sampath Bank a few shots near the line. Unfortunately for Sampath bank, they failed to take the maximum advantage of these opportunities. Sampath did manage to catch up slightly towards the final quarter but it was too late to turn the tables on Commercial Credit as they won by 11 points.

Full-time: Sampath Bank-45 Commercial Credit-56

The coach of the winning team had this to say to ThePapare after their match: “Our opponents had a very good defense although the turning point of the game was the fact that we managed to secure more rebounds. We collected around 70% of the rebounds during the game which is what allowed us to win. We have to work on our defense and bring it up to par by the time of the finals.”

DFCC vs FairFirst

DFCC drew first blood and moved into a man to man defense immediately after while FairFirst on the other had opted for a zone defense. Both teams played a very strong defensive game, resulting in a very low scoring match. FairFirst managed to secure rebounds but failed to successfully convert them into baskets while DFCC had an advantage when it came to jump shots and capitalized on that to take an early lead. Halfway through the first half DFCC changed their defensive strategy to a half court press to maintain their lead as they went into lemons.

Half-time: FairFirst-10 DFCC-21

FairFirst had used the half time well, coming back into the game with a tighter defense and a better offense. Halfway into the second half, FairFirst managed to turn the tables on DFCC taking them by surprise. FairFirst began to dominate the post getting in consecutive baskets. As FairFirst had an unexpected comeback turning a deficit of over 10 around, DFCC began to slow down and struggled to score during the last few minutes of the game possibly due to the weak bench they had, resulting in fewer substitutions.  Although it was a close game FairFirst managed to change things around and secured their spot in the finals to face off against Commercial Credit.

Full-time: FairFirst-40 DFCC-34

Speaking to the captain of the winning team after the match, he had this to say to ThePapare: “Everything changed for us after the halftime we were able to regroup and take back control. We’re not a team that will easily give up and we will fight till the last second to try and win.”