03 October, 2023
26 November
15 Aliou Fadiala Diarra (MAR)
15/11/2023
Review
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Key moments that awed fans in the West Division Elite 16

 

ABIDJAN (Cote d'Ivoire) - In the build-up to the East Division Elite 16 that will determine the remaining three tickets for the Basketball Africa League (BAL) Season 4, we take a closer look at some of the plays that mesmerised fans, coaches, players and alike during the decisive West Division Elite 16.

The following plays, one way or another, massively influenced the outcome of the West Division, which saw Bangui Sporting Club, FUS Rabat and Al Alhy Benghazi ensure their presence in the upcoming BAL season, and here's how it happened. 

Jonathan Jordan punishes Bangui's defense

Bangui Sporting Club led for 39 of the 45 minutes of the game and the Central African Republic champions looked locked in to a convincing win after leading by as many as 12 points in the third quarter.

However, when Jonathan Jordan hit a three-pointer that levelled the game at 89 with less than three seconds remaining, it turned into a different ball game.

 
The Moroccan champions would eventually outscore Bangui-8-7 in overtime to get away with the 90-89 victory.

It was a remarkable display from Rabat who never backed down in a clash that saw them improve to 2-0 in Group B. 

A new sixth-man has emerged

Yasser Kamayangue has epitomised the meaning of resilience and self-confidence like no other.

The 18-year-old point guard, who averaged 5 points in three Group B games, not only saw his playing time increase in  thgec subsequent Elite 16 round, but he also added big numbers to his account, averaging 14.6 points to turn out as one of Bangui's key players.

 
He put all that effort coming off of the bench, suggesting that a new sixth-man was born in Yaounde. The 1.80m (5ft 11in) guard was one of the reasons Bangui Sporting Club signed out with a 4-1 mark in the West Division Elite 16.

Crawford sets scoring record

A highly-regard scorer, Crawford couldn't have left his Elite 16 appearance without leaving his trade mark and his tournament-high 39 points said it all.

And, with Al Ahly Benghazi's season on the line, Crawford, who made it to the 2023 BAL All-First team, terrorised FAP's defense with his 6-for-11 three-pointers to help the Libyan champions to a 93-84 win over FAP.

 
The win meant Benghazi became the Libyan team to qualify for the BAL while FAP missed out the BAL train for the second season in a row.

Diarra 

He may have sat out the last game of the Elite 16 - a 93-90 loss against Bangui - due to an injury, but the 21-year-old Malian international player got his the job done when FUS Rabat needed him most earlier in the qualifier.

 
The 2023 BAL Defensive Player of the Year, who recorded eight double-doubles in his BAL debut with Stade Malien, Diarra was a breath of fresh air for Rabat and that was reflected on his 18 points and tournament-high 21 rebounds in the 78-60 win over FAP that sealed Rabat's ticket to the BAL.

Diarra averaged 13.3 points and 9.8 rebounds in four games. 

The Kamayangue-Kouguere connection

Star-studded Al Ahly Benghazi may have left Yaounde wondering how they gave up a 13-point advantage after leading all but 1:44 minute to end up losing 87-85 to Bangui. 

 
It might have been a surprising result for some, but the Central African Republic champions' tenacity spoke louder, especially when teenager Yasser Kamayangue found veteran Max Kouguere for the game-winning basket with six seconds remaining.

Two-time BAL winner Souleyman Diabate still had a chance to win the game for Benghazi, but his missed three-point attempt saw Bangui jubilantly celebrate their first-ever BAL qualification.

There's been a number of jaw-dropping play throughout the West Division Elite 16, including another game-winning three-pointer by Bangui's Rolly Fula.

 

FIBA