hapoel holon champions .
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Sitting on the team bus more than an hour after scoring the basket which won the BSL championship last Thursday, Hapoel Holon point guard Malik Dixon still hadn't got over what had happened.
"I'm still lost for words, it probably won't dawn on me till tomorrow," he said in a moment of reflection.
"One thing we did, we made history. The other thing we did was we stuck together all year. We went through a lot of adversity and I think it's a tribute to the character that we got on this bus."
Dixon did more than just help the team. He pulled off the kind of clutch move most ball players dream of, and in the most pressured of circumstances.
With just 6.3 seconds left on the clock, Nikola Vujcic had just put Maccabi Tel Aviv up 71-72 and it seemed little Holon's journey to the BSL finals was going to come to a predictable end with Maccabi winning a 15th consecutive title.
A time-out was called and Dixon was given his instructions. When he returned to the court he was visibly hyped up, with his chest pumped and a look of focus on his face.
He went to the sidelines, passed the ball out to Eric Campbell, who fooled Will Bynum with a pass around the back. Dixon took the ball, powered through the middle past Maccabi's Alex Garcia, and lobbed the ball audaciously over Terence Morris's head and into the basket.
Maccabi was stunned, had no time to come back and Holon had won.
Looking back on what happened Dixon admitted it was a one of a kind experience. "We never practiced it. [Coach Miki Dorsman] just drew it up and told me throw it to Eric and backdoor cut," he said.
"I think Will [Bynum] kind of overplayed me a little and thought I was going to throw it to Eric's right hand so he kind of jumped out of position a little bit.
"When Eric threw it back to me the lane was wide open. All I had to do was to complete the play."
The 32-year-old former Galatasary player said it was a seminal moment for him.
"When I got the ball everything moved in slow motion for me from that point. It was like everything slowed down, because here it is, I've got a chance to win the game.
"I had my eyes on the prize. I saw the basket, I saw Garcia kind of step up but not really step up, so I just shot the ball, the little floater shot that I used to shoot."
And, he had no doubt it would go in.
"Of course I knew I would make it. That's my shot. Ask any of my teammates - I shoot that shot all the time," Dixon said proudly.
"I got it up high, I saw the arc when it was coming down and saw it was going in."
With the points on the board Dixon knew he had won the game for his team and made history.
"I felt it was a weight lifted off of our shoulders," he said.
"The whole game was a battle. It seemed we could never get over the hump and they kept on retaking the lead. But we went back and forth and the last shot came down to us and we won."
"This is something special. It ranks above any medal I've got." he concluded. "This is history. Maccabi's got tradition, a lot of tradition, and we beat a powerhouse."
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>