Gorgan seize Group A lead in record win over Al-Ittihad Ahli
TEHRAN (Iran) - Shahrdary Gorgan put on a masterclass and schooled Al-Ittihad Ahli, 121-70, to remain perfect in the FIBA WASL Season 2 on Wednesday night at the Azadi Basketball Hall.
The home team turned it up in the second period, and a one-sided show ensued, eventually snagging the solo lead in Group A of the West Asia League with a 2-0 record.
Game heroes: Will Cherry powered the reigning, three-time Iran champions with a game-high 30 points in just 21 minutes of play. The explosive guard shot an efficient 10-of-17 from the field and also had 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
He was the lone double-digit scorer with the same amount of points after three before the others stepped up to make sure that they stayed ahead all the way to the end.
Sina Vahedi finished with 15 points. Khashayar Aliakbarinamaghi and Mobin Sheikhi produced 13 points apiece, while Arsalan Kazemi supplied 11 points and 14 rebounds.
STEP AHEAD Player of the Game: Cherry deservingly earned Step-Ahead Player of the Game honors as he did not commit a single turnover and set an efficiency rating of 30.
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Turning point: Gorgan took control late in the opening period, but they wouldn't break the game wide open until the second quarter, when Cherry ignited what would become a fiery 16-0 run en route to a commanding 50-25 lead with 4:10 on the clock.
Stats don't lie: Gorgan's 121 points are now the most in FIBA WASL, eclipsing the previous mark set by Al Riyadi in a 114-100 win against, coincidentally, them to clinch the inaugural West Asia League title on May 17, 2023, at the Nouhad Nawfal Sports Complex.
Their dominant win was big thanks to their impeccable three-point shooting, with 17 made, which is now the most in the sub-zone league, eclipsing the old feat of 14.
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They said: "We got well prepared for this game, and we have to practice harder and harder for tough games moving forward." - Mostafa Hashemi, Head Coach, Shahrdary Gorgan
"Coach did a good job of making sure we were focused from the beginning. We knew we were the better team, but teams like this—if you let them get confident and hang around early, they could create a big problem. We didn't want that to happen. So, in the first half, we came out very aggressive, and we did the same in the third quarter and put the game away." Will Cherry, Shahrdary Gorgan
"We played a very strong team, this Gorgan team. I'm happy for the young guys; they had an opportunity to play against this strong team. I think Gorgan can win the title this year. For us, we have to be better on defense. To have 70 points against the team was good, but on defense, they gave us 121 points. It's a lot for us." - Safouane Ferjani, Head Coach, Al-Ittihad Ahli
"Statistics-wise, we made a lot of turnovers. They only made 11 turnovers; we had 23. They shot 51 percent off three points; that's too much." - Nadim Issa, Al-Ittihad Ahli