Fifth-ranked W.D. Mohammed needed 11 made free throws in the final period to hold off Region 5-A rival Holy Innocents’ 56-48 Tuesday night at Shareef Abdur-Rahim Gymnasium in Atlanta.
Four makes came from guard Muhammad Hamilton, who led the Caliphs (16-1, 4-0) with 15 points. His last two were inside the final 20 seconds and suppressed the final Golden Bears threat. The Caliphs also got 14 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and three steals from 6-2 forward Hussein Clark, who battled against a much taller Holy Innocents’ front line.
“My kids are not so big but they have been trained to play bigger,” W.D. Mohammed head coach Qur’An Shakir-Abdul-Khall said. “They’ve got to be three inches taller than they really are.”
Darryl Stewart’s driving layup drew Holy Innocents’ within 51-48 with 34 seconds left to play. Stewart scored all 10 of his points in the final quarter. Stewart pulled Holy Innocents within 34-33 to start the fourth quarter and two free throws from Sam Asbury (game-high 17 points) gave the Bears their first lead of the second half. On the next two possessions Hamilton hit a 14-footer and a 3-pointer to put the Caliphs back up by four, a lead they never gave up.
“(Stewart) started to attack the rim and find a rhythm,” Holy Innocents coach Terry Kelly said. “He’s a very good player for us, but we didn’t get that all four quarters tonight.”
W.D. Mohammed went ahead 8-1 early behind baskets Hamilton and forward Yusuf Muhammad. The Caliphs used full court pressure to create turnovers on three straight trips before the Bears (12-4, 3-1) gathered and went ahead 12-10 behind a put back from 6-7 center Jim Voyles.
“We were down one of our 6-7 kids and we had a little bit of a hard time getting in a rhythm,” Kelly said. “It was nothing they did; it was more so the mistakes we made and got ourselves in an 8-1 hole. We were still trying to find our way.”
W.D. Mohammed (56) – Muhammad Hamilton 15, Hussein Clark 14, Jahid Hameen 10, Omar Majid 6, Joel Nuridden 6, Yusuf Muhammad 5
Holy Innocents (48) –Sam Asbury 17, Darryl Stewart 10, Jonathan Ledbetter 8, Jim Voyles 6, Will Small 5, Josh Ledbetter 2
Halftime: W.D. Mohammed 27, Holy Innocents 22
Holy Innocents’ girls 64, W.D. Mohammed 1: The Lady Bears improved to 12-3 overall and remained undefeated atop Region 5-A.