In the hotly contested Winner Cup final on Sunday night, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 88-84 in overtime to capture the derby and the season’s first piece of hardware.
Alex Poythress was a force in the paint for the yellow-and-blue as he scored at will on the inside along with some high-flying dunks, while Lorenzo Brown found key points in the extra session to hand Oded Katash’s squad the title.
With flares and pyrotechnics at the Hadera Arena, Maccabi was in full control of the game from the outset as big men Poythress, Roman Sorkin and Josh Nebo dominated the interior on both ends of the court to take a 47-36 lead into halftime.
However, Xavier Munford and Jordan McRae chipped away at the lead to tie up the game 73-73 at the end of regulation.
In the extra session, Brown scored on the inside and the outside while Poythress continued to find points in the paint to finally dispose of the Reds.
“We know Alex and that is why he is here,” Katash said about the game’s MVP. “[Signing him] was our first decision of the summer. We are very happy that he is here with us and we know what his abilities are. For most of this game he didn’t play his usual position and he had to get used to it.”
Poythress scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds, Brown added 20 points and nine assists while Roman Sorkin scored 12 points in the win. Munford paced Hapoel with 23 points and McRae chipped in with 17 points in the loss.
Thoughts on the game
Poythress also shared his thoughts on the win.
“The atmosphere was crazy and I’m glad to be a part of this. Hopefully, when we play them a couple of more times we come out as winners. It was a great experience.”
“We came into the game believing that we could win the game, perhaps more than we should have,” Hapoel coach Danny Franco said. “We didn’t have a good first half and went down 11 points, but in the second half we were able to focus on some of the details and were able to turn the game around with a chance to win it.”
Reds captain Bar Timor talked about what he told his team following the game.
“I told the guys that it’s too bad that we lost but we can take some lessons from this game, how to start off better, focus more and work on the small things. We need to learn from this game and move on.”
In Israel basketball league action, meanwhile, Bnei Herzliya surprised Hapoel Holon 79-74 in a replay of last year’s championship series.
Despite playing without guard Quinton Hooker, seldom-used point guard Oded Brandwein rose to the occasion to score a pair of three-pointers late in the game to seal the road victory that saw veteran big men Maurice Kemp and Julian Gamble take advantage of the interior to take the win. Kemp recorded a 19-point-10 rebound double-double, Gamble added 18 points, while Sandy Cohen and Chris Babb each chipped in for 14 points in the victory.
Joe Ragland paced the hosts with 21 points, Erick Green added 20 points and Marvin Jones scored 15 points in the loss.
Also, Hapoel Eilat came out on top of Hapoel Galil Elyon 88-76 down south by the Red Sea city.
Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team came out strong to grab a 46-39 lead at halftime and never looked back to record the win. Jared Terrell Eric Griffin led the way for Eilat with 24 points and 10 boards, Jared Terrell added 22 points and Amit Gershon scored 10 points in the victory.
Jalen Hudson paced Barak Peleg’s team with 21 points and Bryce Washington scored 19 points in the defeat.