In Play with Tom Markowski

Zahr's basket at the buzzer gives Fordson a 53-51 victory over Allen Park in first round thriller

Basketball   | Tom Markowski

Zahr's basket at the buzzer gives Fordson a 53-51 victory over Allen Park in first round thriller

Dearborn – Nothing seemed to go Muhammed Zahr’s way in the second half of the Class A district opener at Dearborn Fordson. The senior from Fordson missed all six of his field goal tries in the third quarter as Allen Park’s defensive pressure began to wear on him.

Then he lost his cool. Zahr was assessed a technical foul with 4:59 left in the third with Fordson holding a 34-30 lead and his coach, Osama Abulhassan, had his high-scoring guard take a seat on the bench.

There Zahr sat for the next 3:23 and, thanks to Abdallah Jaffal, Fordson increased its lead to 41-34 when Zahr made his return.

But Zahr’s head was still in the clouds. His presence added little as Antonio Reviere scored the last four points of the quarter for Allen Park to cut the deficit to 41-38 and Reviere’s basket with 27 seconds left in the game tied the game at 51-51.

Still Zahr, who scored 18 in the first half, hadn’t made a basket in the second half. He was 0-9 from the field and 3-for-8 from the free throw line. And he shot 77 percent from the line during the season.

“They came out face-guarding me,” Zahr said. “It made it tough. It got a little frustrating. I had to overcome some adversity.

“That four minutes on the bench was horrible. I didn’t want to lose. It was tough when I came back in. It was like I missed the whole quarter. Last year we were up on them late and lost. I didn’t want to lose again to them.”

Allen Park won four straight against the Tractors including that double overtime game last season in a first round game in the districts.

With 10 seconds left and Fordson in possession it looked like this game would be headed to overtime, too.

But in the state tournament it doesn’t matter how many points a plyer scores or how poorly a player shoots. All that matters is if your team advances or not. And, thanks to Zahr, Fordson did advance.

Zahr’s driving layup as time expired gave Fordson (16-5) a 53-51 victory over Allen Park on Monday.

Fordson will play Dearborn Edsel Ford (13-7) in Wednesday’s district semifinal at 7 p.m. The teams split their two games during the season.

“Coach wanted to go away from me at first,” Zahr said of the last 10 seconds. “He wanted to make me a decoy. Then I got the ball on the wing and I saw number 12 (Ethan Kubik) come out and I gave a pump fake. I was thinking jump shot but I got him in the air and went to the basket. I knew I had enough time to get the shot off.

“After the pump it was me, one-on-one with (Reviere). I just went to the basket and went up with it.”

Zahr, who averages 29 points, had 23 and 12 rebounds. Jaffal, one of the area’s top football players who signed with Ball State, was a force inside with 15 points and eight rebounds.

“(Zahr) pressed,” Abulhassan said. “He’s a great shooter but I’m on him to go to the basket more. I knew it was over when he attacked the basket.”

Reviere was held to six points in the first half but finished with 18 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks. As a team, Allen Park had 11 blocks.

 “Every year it’s a battle with them,” Allen Park coach Jimmy Vickers said. “We talked in the huddle about getting Zahr out on the wing. We did a good job of hedging him out there. We went too hard at him, though, and he got around us.

“That was a great high school game.”