The Israel Basketball Winner League Final Four semifinal pairings are set after the best of 5 quarterfinal series concluded this week. The two single elimination games are slated for Monday June 10th at Yad Eliyahu in Tel Aviv with Maccabi Tel Aviv tipping off against Hapoel Eilat in the first contest while Hapoel Jerusalem plays Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion in the second matchup. The one game winner take all Final will be played on Thursday June 13th as the yellow-and-blue will look to repeat and win back to back championships.
Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped Hapoel Tel Aviv 87-63 to sweep the Reds and advance to the Final Four semifinals where they’ll take on Hapoel Eilat. The yellow-and-blue didn’t waste any time showing their superiority as they raced out to a 17-3 lead after five minutes of action and never looked back. Jake Cohen and Scottie Wilbekin each scored 14 points while DeAndre Kane added 10 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Raviv Limonad led Hapoel with 13 points and Tomer Ginat added 12 points and 11 boards in the loss.
Following the game, Hapoel Tel Aviv parted ways with Coach Danny Franco after two seasons with the club. “I want to thank Hapoel Tel Aviv. We experienced many things over the past two seasons and I’m happy that I had the opportunity to be a part of this journey together.”
Hapoel Eilat sunk Nes Ziona 98-90 to wrap up their series 3-1 and advance to the semifinals where they will meet Maccabi Tel Aviv. The two squads played neck and neck for 30 minutes but the Red Sea side pulled away in the fourth quarter to take the win. Elijah Bryant led the way for Sharon Drucker’s team with 23 points, JP Tokoto dropped 15 points while veteran point guard Avi Ben Chimol dished out 9 assists and scored 12 points in the win. Daequan Cook scored 24 points and Talib Zanna chipped in with a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion defeated Hapoel Holon 92-76 to win their series 3-1. Cameron Long scored 26 points and Alex Hamilton added 17 points in the win while Scottie Reynolds led Holon with 22 points in the loss.
Coach Guy Goodes’s squad was the dominant team throughout the four games as Dan Shamir’s team suffered from a short roster due to injuries. Rishon will now tip off against Jerusalem for a ticket to the Final in a rematch of the Israel State Cup title game in which the Reds won at the PAIS Arena in the capital city. However, this time around Rishon has game changer Darryl Monroe who joined the club just last month while Jerusalem will have Amare Stoudemire at their services.
“We knew Holon strengths,” began Goodes. “We hadn’t been able to defeat them all season long. But we were close so that gave us motivation coming into the series. Jerusalem has a very deep squad but we will fight as hard as we can.”
For Holon, the loss ends an era as coach Dan Shamir who guided the team for the last four seasons will most probably be moving on to coach the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League. In Auckland, he will have the opportunity to work with RJ Hampton who is slated to be a 2020 NBA Lottery Draft Pick. However, Shamir was noncommittal about his future immediately following the game, “It’s clear that we are going to go our separate ways but nothing closed. Perhaps I will do nothing or perhaps what has been in the news will occur.”
Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Beer Sheva 95-77 to sweep their quarterfinal series 3-0. Rami Hadar’s Southern Capital squad played tough over the course of the 40 minutes but it wasn’t enough to take out the capital city side in a foul filled game. Oded Katash’s team went to the free throw line 36 times making 29 of their charity line shots in a game that featured 54 fouls. Tashawn Thomas led Jerusalem in scoring with 17 points while Amare Stoudemire and James Feldeine each dropped 15 points a piece in the win. Jordan Swing scored 18 points and Kerron Johnson added 16 points for the losing side.