Maccabi Tel Aviv added a new piece of silverware to its trophy cabinet on Monday
night, thrashing Cedevita Zagreb 87-77 at Nokia Arena to win the Adriatic League
for the first time in club history.
Tel Aviv lost in the Adriatic League
final the only other time it took part in the competition, in the 2002/03
season, but there was never any danger of that happening on Monday, with the
yellow-and-blue dominating from start to finish.
Maccabi began the game
with a 7-0 run, capped by a Richard Hendrix dunk, and never looked
Keith Langford’s basket took the gap to double-digits (15-5) and
two more points by Tel Aviv’s American guard made it 27-11 after 10 minutes,
effectively rendering the remainder of the game meaningless.
still held a 16-point margin (39-23) at halftime and Cedevita’s late run was of
no significance as the hosts cruised to another title.
Langford had 21
points for Tel Aviv, with Richard Hendrix adding 16 points and seven
Levour Christopher Warren scored 24 points for
“The players achieved something amazing by coming through this
season and winning this title,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt after seeing his
team lift its second title of the season following its 80th game of the
Maccabi will not spend too long celebrating Monday’s triumph,
with the yellow-and-blue to host BC Habika’a in Game 1 of its BSL quarterfinal
series on Wednesday night.
Maccabi, the No. 1 seed, will be hoping to
avoid the fate of No. 2 seed, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, which lost its series opener,
and home-court advantage, to Maccabi Ashdod on Monday night.
stuttered its way into the playoffs, but was impressive on the way to a 77-72
victory in Gan Ner.
Gilboa led for much of the first half, but never by
much, taking a 34-32 advantage into the break.
Ashdod moved in front at
the start of the third frame, and despite leading by as many as seven points at
one stage (50-43), was only ahead by two (53-51) with 10 minutes to
The pattern repeated itself in the fourth period, with Ashdod
pulling ahead, only for the visitors to come right back.
basket with 5:30 remaining gave the visitors a sevenpoint cushion (65-58), but
Courtney Fells soon closed the gap to a single point (65-64).
Gilboa could not overhaul Ashdod’s next run, with Tapiro’s threepoint play with
1:11 to go opening a seven-point margin once more (73-66), one from which the
hosts could not come back.
Josh Carter scored 24 points for Ashdod, with
Tapiro contributing 14 points, nine assists and eight rebounds.
26 points for Gilboa, which visits Ashdod in Game 2 next Monday.
excellent tactical work,” said Ashdod coach Ofer Berkowitz. “But this is just
the start of the series and Gilboa is a very strong side. They will make
adjustments for Game 2 and we will need to be very sharp.”
Game 5 in women’s finals
Maccabi Ashdod’s dream of claiming a league and State
Cup double is still alive after it beat Elitzur Ramle 67-57 on the road on
Monday night to tie the women’s playoff finals at 2-2 and force a decisive Game
Ramle got off to a bright start, going on a 17-0 run in the first
period and leading 23-12 after one frame.
But Ashdod would fight back,
tying the score at 33-33 by the break and held its composure the better of the
two teams in the closing moments to send the series to a Game 5 in Ashdod on
Plenette Pierson led Ashdod with 25 points and 16 rebounds,
while Alana Beard scored 23 for Ramle.
“We played well and regained
homecourt advantage,” said Ashdod coach Edni Dagan. “We now want to make