Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a scare before overcoming Maccabi Haifa to advance to
the preseason Winner Cup final on Thursday night, setting up a meeting with
Maccabi Ashdod on Saturday in a repeat of last season’s BSL championship
Haifa led by as many as eight points in the fourth quarter, but a
19-4 Tel Aviv run clinched an 86-79 win in Haifa’s Romema Arena.
dominated Hapoel Jerusalem in the first semi of the evening, claiming a 69-59
Tel Aviv, playing without the injured Devin Smith and new
signing Malcolm Thomas, who only arrived in Israel on Thursday, led for much of
the first half, but it held just a one-point advantage (45-44) at the
A Donta Smith three-pointer capped a 10-2 Haifa run to start the
second half, giving the Greens a promising 54-47 lead.
Haifa took a
five-point cushion (66-61) into the fourth quarter and another threepoint play
by Smith increased its gap to 72-64.
However, David Logan would catch
fire in the closing stages, scoring a quick 11 points to lead Tel Aviv to the
Logan led five Tel Aviv players in double-figures with 16 points,
while Smith scored 27 for Haifa. Ashdod seized control of the first semi with an
18- 2 run in the first period, opening a 23-6 lead. Kenny Gabriel’s two points
took the gap to 20 points (31-11) early in the second quarter and Ashdod cruised
Ashdod’s Diamon Simpson proved his quality for a second
straight game, scoring 19 points and taking nine rebounds.
added 15 points for Ashdod, while Raviv Limonad had 12 points for Jerusalem,
which shot a shocking 14 percent (3 of 22) from three-point range.
had an excellent first half and it was only natural that Jerusalem would fight
back in the second,” said Ashdod coach Ofer Berkowitz.
“Even though the
second half wasn’t as good as the first, it actually encourages me more than the
first because the players didn’t allow Jerusalem back into the game.”