13 November, 2023
08 May, 2024
29 Will Cherry (GOR)
Game Report
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Gorgan too much for Al Shorta, zero in on Final return

TEHRAN (Iran) - Shahrdary Gorgan moved a step closer from returning to the FIBA WASL-West Asia League Final following a 102-64 masterclass against Al Shorta, Thursday night.

Buoyed by their ever-supportive home crowd that trooped to the Azadi Basketball Hall, the crew pulled away in the second quarter and would never lift their foot off the gas pedal on the way to stretching their unbeaten streak to seven games in the sub-zone league.

Gorgan will try to finish off their Iraqi counterparts in Game 2 of their best-of-3 Semi-Finals bout next Thursday, April 4, at the Al Shaeb Hall in Baghdad. Tipoff is at 22:00 local time.

Game heroes: Will Cherry starred with 30 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals, netting an efficiency of 28 en route to earning the STEP AHEAD Player of the Game citation.

Sina Vahedi produced 17 points, 2 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals. Mobin Sheikhi went 4-of-5 from downtown for 14 points, while Navid Rezaeifar chipped in 11 points as all 11 players were fielded by Coach Mostafa Hashemi and contributed at least 2 points in the win.

Turning point: Salar Monji, Cherry, and Sheikhi joined forces for the decisive 17-2 assault to open the second period and establish a commanding 39-17 lead to set up the rout.

Gorgan played merciless basketball the rest of the night, so much so that they led by as many as 42 points twice in the fourth quarter as Al Shorta just couldn't find any answer.

Stats don't lie: Gorgan shot 53.5-percent from the field, which saw them nail 12 three-pointers - just 5 short from equaling the West Asia League which the Iranian club itself set. The team also dished out 23 assists, ruled the boards, 45-34, and collected 11 steals.

They said: "As I mentioned in another interview, this team (Al Shorta) is really good on defense. They have some problems on offense but in defense, they are really great. We knew that we had a tough game but as far as Semi-Final games, there's stress and it's inevitable. My players, with full commitment, won the game. I really appreciate my players." - Mostafa Hashemi, Head Coach, Shahrdary Gorgan

"Hard-fought game. We knew that we had to come in really focused. A team like this, you can't let them hang around. Like Coach said, they're very good on defense. But we knew if we rebounded and played our defense, we can get out in transition and attack them. We blew the game open in the first half and we kept it going in the second half, and we put 'em away." - Will Cherry, Shahrdary Gorgan

"We were completely dominated. You know, I've known the region for a long time, there's a big difference between Iraqi basketball and Iranian basketball, or Lebanese basketball. Because the way we practice in Lebanon, for example, they practice hard two times a day; here we are like semi-amateurs. We share the court in Baghdad with five other teams. It's difficult. Terry knows what I'm talking about. The level of professionalism is behind. We cannot analyze - I think if we play them 10 times, they're gonna do the same ... They are much better." - Ghassan Sarkis, Head Coach, Al Shorta

"I think Gorgan was a lot more structured and prepared for this game than we were. I think this is a good test to understand the level outside of Iraq with our team. So now we understand that we have to be more focused. we have to pay more attention to detail when it comes to fundamentals and playing together. For me it's just a rude awakening for what we need to do next game." - Terry Smith, Al Shorta