(photo credit: )
Ramat Hasharon claimed its first championship since 2003 on Sunday night, defeating Elitzur Ramle 61-53 on the road to clinch the women's playoff finals, 3-1.
After seeing its arch-rival Ramle take four of the last five league titles, Ramat Hasharon was desperate to end its drought this season and was the best team in the league throughout the campaign.
Despite losing Game 2 of the finals, Ramat Hasharon dominated the series and thoroughly deserved its triumph.
"We went through some difficult years and this is the sweetest moment," Ramat Hasharon coach Orna Ostfeld said. "We couldn't take the losing anymore and I'm so very happy now."
Jia Perkins, the league and finals MVP, led Ramat Hasharon once more, scoring 17 points and taking eight rebounds.
"We worked hard and it showed on court," Perkins said. "We never give up and now we've taken the championship."
Tatyana Troina scored 14 points, with Elizaveta Kityzina adding 11 points.
Tamara Moore scored 12 points and Olena Ogorodnikova added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Ramle, which gave its all in the finals, but just couldn't match Ramat Hasharon's superior roster.
"Sadly it's over," Ramle coach Eli Rabi said. "Ramat Hasharon might have been the favorite, but I always believed we could win the title.
"Nevertheless, I'm proud of my girls."
Ramat Hasharon led 23-18 after a tight first period and opened a 10-point margin (37-27) by the break.
However, in the third quarter, Ramat Hasharon only managed to score a meager three points, and Ramle took a 43-40 advantage into the fourth frame.
After a nervy start to the final quarter, Katia Levitsky hit a three-pointer to give Ramle a 52-50 lead.
But the closing minutes belonged to Ramat Hasharon and Perkins and the visitors ended the game with a 13-1 run to win the fifth championship in their history.