1) The Israel Under-20 National Team advanced to the quarterfinals after defeating Sweden 72-63 in the Round of 16. On Thursday at 14:30 Israel time, the Blue & White will face Spain for a ticket to the semifinals of the FIBA European Championships. Deni Avdija again starred for Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad with 22 points and 8 rebounds going 8/13 from the field. Gil Beni scored 14 points (5/13), Michael Brisker added 14 points as well (4/14) while Yovel Zoosman dropped 12 points (3/13) in the victory. Israel will need to shoot better than the 33% they did against Sweden and get closer to the 42% they’ve been hitting over the 4 games so far in the tournament should they have a chance to eliminate Spain.
2) Check out Jeremy Rabani’s exclusive interview with Israel Lacrosse player Jon Rathauser, it’s a must read! Rathauser has used his connection to the sport of lacrosse to strengthen his connection to the Land of Israel.
3) Maccabi Tel Aviv will host Ferencvaros in the second leg of Europa League First Round qualifying on Thursday night at the Netanya Stadium, 20:00 Israel time after drawing 1:1 last week in Budapest thanks to a 91′ goal by Eliran Atar. Head Coach Vladimir Ivic addressed the media ahead of the contest, “Tomorrow is one of the tough games and for me every game is a tough game. We prepare 100% to be ready to win every game. This is the second game of the season and against the same team. Our target is to win the game and make it to the next round.” About the Maccabi supporters the boss added, “I know that the Maccabi fans will be the 12th man and those who will come to stadium will give 100% support to the team. They will be a positive and help the team win the game. We have another 24 hours and training today in order to get ready for this match.”
Veteran midfielder Dor Micha commented, “We are all aware of the importance of tomorrow’s match. We all know how critical it is for the Club that we continue to succeed in Europe this season. I’m happy that we returned with a good result and together with our supporters the second leg will be a totally different story. We need the fans together with us and they have proved in the past that they can create an amazing atmosphere in Netanya and we need that in every match.”
4) Beitar Jerusalem also plays in Europa League second leg first round action as they host Georgian side Chikhura FC. Head Coach Guy Luzon looked ahead to the challenge at hand, “We have a number of injuries. We aren’t focusing on the defensive side of the game as we know in order to advance we have to win.”
Quick Hits – Former Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Claudemir Perrera signed with Bnei Sakhnin…Veteran center Ike Rosefelt will play with Maccabi Ashdod BC this coming season after a season with Hapoel Eilat BC and guard Paul Stoll will also return to Israel and play fro Brad Greenberg once again after starring with him in the past at Maccabi Haifa BC…Forward Oz Blayzer signed with Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion after playing last season with Maccabi Haifa BC…Hapoel Jerusalem signed center Josh Owens for the upcoming two seasons…