Rishon Le’Zion captured their first Israel Basketball championship defeating Jerusalem 83-77 on tremendous play by Shawn Dawson and Darryl Monroe while Yotam Halperin, Lior Eliyahu and Donta Smith disappointed in the clutch for the capital city side.
Hapoel Jerusalem ran out to an early first quarter lead as Tony Gaffney led the way for the Reds with 10 points as the “hosts” had a 28-17 advantage at the end of ten minutes or play. Chris Wright attempted valiantly to keep his Rishon side in the game with 9 points of his own but poor shooting by Shawn Dawson kept his team behind by 11 after one.
Quarter number two saw Rishon cut the lead down to five points 43-38 with big man Darryl Monroe inflicting most of the damage as he finished the quarter with 13 points while Avi Ben Chimol dished out 5 assists.
Dawson, whose first half shooting was atrocious came out flying in the second half scoring nine points in the first four minutes to give the Orange a 51-49 lead midway through the third frame. But strong play by EJ Rowland helped Jerusalem head into the 4th quarter down only three, 64-61.
As the drama set in for the last quarter of the season, it was time for Dawson to shine and take center stage as the youngster had one thing in mind; how to bring home the title for Rishon. Number 8 drained shots, grabbed rebounds and dominated okay at both ends of the floors to finish the game with 21 points before fouling out with 28.8 second left in the contest. Not be outdone by Dawson it was Monroe who scored a game high 29 points of his own as he was truly an MVP in every respect of the words.