Hawke and Co 370.
(photo credit: Yair Smith)
In a hugely-anticipated championship game that lived up to every bit of the
hype, Hawke&Co. won the title game of the Red & Doctor Murray’s
Israel Basketball League.
Hawke&Co. completed an epic perfect season,
overcoming the defending champs Lobos in an emotional final, and taking home the
Red Auerbach Championship Trophy.
The protagonists had met once before,
in a game that Hawke&Co. won by the slimmest of margins – one point, at the
buzzer, in overtime – and this time around, for all the marbles, the game was
even more intense than the last.
Hawke&Co. were true to their
reputation as the league’s best shooters, jumping out of the gate to an early
eight-point lead, and using tenacious defense to make Lobos work for every
Star point guard Yisrael Feld led the Hawke attack, slashing
inside, and commanding help whenever he drove the lane. The opportunities thus
created for his teammates quickly multiplied; in addition to his game-high 25
points, Feld’s penetration set the table for many Hawke&Co. layups and open
look jumpers, and freed up teammates to crash the offensive boards for rebounds
Feld’s teammates did not disappoint, as Shelby Rosenberg
opportunistically scored eight points, Mason Wedgle, Yehuda Heller, and Jared
Stein notched four apiece, and Dovi Grosser hit two straight treys to give
Hawke&Co. the lead early in the second half.
Jason Allen and
Rosenberg set the frenetic defensive pace, with Allen sabotaging plays at every
opportunity, and Rosenberg making his presence keenly felt with five
With under five minutes remaining, Hawke&Co. extended their
lead to 11, but the defending champs, in true Lobos spirit, rallied one last
Thanks to lights-out shooting by Yehuda Gutkin, the post-up work of
Zevi Binder, and and big plays by Moshe Klein, Aryeh Rudman and Nissi
Merenstein, Lobos moved within three points, with just two minutes to
However, once Hawke&Co. had made it a two-possession game
again, Lobos faced a virtually insoluble dilemma: allow Feld to calmly pick his
spots, filibustering much of the precious remaining time, or guard him tightly
and risk getting burnt by his lightning first step to the hoop. Without the
luxury of time, Lobos had to gamble on pressuring Feld, and he answered with a
dizzying barrage of crossover dribbles and penetrating drives, to lock down the
With the waning seconds ticking down on the 50-42 final tally,
Hawke&Co. fans began the celebrations.
The two classy teams exchanged
handshakes and embraces, well-earned over a span of over two full, tightly
contested, and well-played games. It came as no surprise that Feld was named the
championship game MVP.
In the Tier-2 “AFI Cup” Championship, Bromptons
used phenomenal outside shooting, led by Adi Isaacs, and exemplary coaching, to
pull away from a talented TK Associates-LA Ballers squad by a core of 61-48, and
take home the trophy.