Maccabi Tel Aviv 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv survived a brave Bnei Hasharon effort to claim its
first State Cup in four years on Thursday, winning 77-70 in the final
at the Nokia Arena.
Maccabi has never gone more than three years
without winning the cup, but very nearly lost Thursday’s final, with
Bnei Hasharon squandering a couple of chances to take the lead in the
final two minutes of the encounter.
Tel Aviv led throughout the
game, but Bnei Hasharon never allowed the perennial league champion to
pull too far in front and ended up coming tantalizingly close to a
first cup in club history, despite scoring just 22 of 68 from the field.
only hit 29 of 63 shots and was outrebounded 48-38, but showed once
more that when all else fails it can also fight it out with the best of
them and eventually outhustled Bnei Hasharon for the title which has
eluded it for the past three seasons.
“We are delighted to lift
the cup again,” Maccabi coach Pini Gershon said. “We were the better
team for most of the game. We defended superbly and held Bnei Hasharon
to 32 percent from the field, which is not an easy thing to do. I think
that if we would have played better on offense we would have clinched
the win earlier.”
David Bluthenthal scored 14 points for
Maccabi, with Alan Anderson, Andrew Wisniewski and Guy Pnini adding 12,
11 and 10 points, respectively.
D’or Fischer dominated under the baskets, taking 12 rebounds and blocking four shots, as well as scoring eight points.
feels great to bring the cup back to Maccabi,” Anderson said. “We had
to work hard for the win and despite some turnovers managed to finish
with the win.”
Shawn James had 20 points and 12 rebounds for
Bnei Hasharon, with Ori Itzhaki and Sam Clancy scoring 17 and 10
“Maccabi controlled the game, but we came
back and I’m proud of that,” said Bnei Hasharon coach Dan Shamir, who
guided Hapoel Jerusalem to the cup in 2007 and 2008.
fought throughout the game and showed our character. We missed a few
plays in the money-time, but the better team won the game.”
were hard to come by for both teams at the start of the game, but it
was Maccabi which broke out of the scoring slump first and Fischer’s
long jumper gave the team an early 10-2 lead.
An Anderson basket
extended the gap to 14-5 and, with Bnei Hasharon only managing to score
two of 15 field-goal attempts in the first period, Tel Aviv was in
front 20-10 after 10 minutes.
Shamir’s players would catch fire at the beginning of the second quarter and doubled their point total within just two minutes.
Two threes were followed by baskets from Itzhaki and Isaac Rosenfelt and all of the sudden the score was tied (20-20).
almost immediately pulled ahead once more, but Bnei Hasharon never lost
touch and despite Pnini’s triple at the buzzer was down by just five
points at the break (38-33).
The Sharon side came within one
point, but could not take the lead and the rarely used Derrick Sharp
scored two threes, the second of which opened a 60-51 margin with just
over two minutes to play in the quarter.
Maccabi took a
seven-point gap (63-56) into the final 10 minutes, but the
yellow-and-blue could not shake Bnei Hasharon and Shamir’s men were
down by a mere three points (65-62) after Clancy’s three-point move.
Ron Steele’s triple with 2:45 to play closed the gap to a single point (69-68) and set up a thrilling ending to the game.
Tel Aviv leading 71-70 with less than two minutes remaining in the
game, Bnei Hasharon had its chances to go in front, but both Steele and
James squandered golden opportunities and Maccabi held on for