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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Chargers beat 'Dogs, earn title share (PHOTO)

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The race for the Western Wayne Athletic Conference Red Division championship came down to the last minute of the last game Thursday night at Robichaud.

The defending champion Bulldogs trailed challenger Crestwood by three points with time winding down and a triple try to tie by Robert Crawford just barely rimmed out.

The Chargers responded with three huge hoops in a span of 20 seconds for a 50-44 victory that left both teams tied atop the standings with records of 8-2.

"This team only won three games last year, so these kids have been though a lot and they really deserve to be co-champions," said Crestwood coach Mike Bright. "They've worked hard and, once they started getting a taste of winning, it became contagious. We started heading into games expecting to win, not just hoping that maybe we could win."

That was the case Thursday, even though the Bulldogs had already beaten the Chargers earlier in the year and had the home court advantage.

What they didn't have as standout Lorenzo Bonam, who injured his ankle the previous Tuesday.

"Lorenzo being out obviously helped us," Bright said, "but we were prepared to play with him in there as well."

The showdown was tied at 13 after the first quarter and the Bulldogs pulled into a 23-20 halftime lead after a triple try by Crestwood's Imran Abduljami rimmed out at the buzzer.

Abduljami made a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left in the third quarter to give the visitors a 35-33 lead heading into the fourth and it proved to be a harbinger of things to come.

Abduljami slammed home a dunk in the first minute of the final stanza, then hit a triple and then Ayman Youssef drove right through the defense for a lay-up that made it 42-33 with 4:54 to go.

Elijuwhan Booker finally scored for Robichaud to end a 10-0 run for the Chargers and his 3-pointer made it 42-36.

Billy Abduljami got loose for a lay-up that made it 44-36 with 2:27 left, but then Crawford hit a triple and Darius Phillips made a lay-up and it was a three-point game.

Crawford's near miss followed and then Crestwood put the hammer down.

Imran Abduljami scored on a breakaway with 50 seconds left and then another turnover led to a breakaway by Billy Abduljami with 30 to go. He made the lay-up and drew a foul. He missed the free throw, but Youssef was there to put back the offensive rebound and the Chargers had iced the win.

Imran Abduljami made a total of five triples in the second half and finished with a game-high 26 points.

"He's been our best offensive player all year, but he was a little off in the last couple of games," Bright said. "After we lost to Dearborn on Tuesday, he said he wouldn't let that happen again and he made big shot after big shot for us tonight."

Crawford scored 14 points and Lloyd Harris added 11 for Robichaud.

Abduljami scored only seven points in Tuesday's 41-38 loss to visiting Dearborn High. Hussein Bazzi had 14 and Youssef twined 10.

"We wanted that game badly," Bright said, "and maybe we were a little too amped up. We didn't execute and we made too may mental errors. It was one of those games where we relied too much on shooting 3-pointers and didn't attack the basket enough."

The split left Crestwood with an overall record of 15-4. The Chargers will finish the regular season tomorrow at Carleton Airport and will meet either Dearborn High or Allen Park in the semifinals of the Class A district tournament at DHS Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Robichaud played a total of three games last week.

On Tuesday, Bonam was injured in an 84-45 loss at Detroit Consortium. The game was a tribute to Consortium coach Al Anderson, who had died the previous Saturday, and the Bulldogs could not match the emotions of the home team. Jalen McGlaughly led the locals with 12.

On Friday, Robichaud bounced back with a 68-57 victory over Detroit East English. Phillips scored 18 points as the hosts improved to 13-5 overall.

The Bulldogs will meet Annapolis Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the first round of Divine Child's Class B district tournament. The winner will face Melvindale in the semifinals Wednesday.

Last Updated: 2/26/2013 2:22:31 PM EST