Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Gilboa Galil 81-79 thanks to a Scottie Wilbekin 3-pointer with 2 seconds remaining to send the yellow-and-blue to the final on Tuesday night. Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad controlled the game from the get go, but Lior Lubin’s Galilee team used a frantic fourth quarter to even up the score late at 78-78. But Wilbekin’s heroics saved Maccabi as they’ll now look to win back to back league titles over Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion.
Tyler Dorsey scored 20 points to lead Maccabi, Scottie Wilbekin added 17 points while Deni Avdija chipped in with 11 points and 9 rebounds in the win. Iftach Ziv scored 23 points, Joe Thomasson notched 15 points and Akil Mitchell scored 14 points in the defeat.
Jake Cohen and Amare Stoudemire made their free throws to start of the second quarter while Dorsey drained a 3-pointer and Avdija added points but Thomasson countered for Gilboa as Maccabi stayed in front 36-28 with 4:57 left in the first half. Othello Hunter and Michael Young traded baskets as Thomasson scored from beyond the arc but Avdija had the final word of the half as the yellow-and-blue took a 43-36 advantage into halftime.
A focused Hunter scored inside while Dorsey found the bottom of the bucket from the outside to go up 50-39 to start the third quarter and force Gilboa Galil coach Lior Lubin to call timeout less than two minutes into the frame. Hunter continued to score for Maccabi as Tim Coleman answered for Galil but Cohen scored a triple and Avdija added points to give Maccabi a 64-51 lead after thirty minutes of play.
Ziv opened the final frame with a pair of baskets, Thomasson scored as did Benayahu Sror as Gilboa Galil looked to remain relevant as they cut the Maccabi lead to 69-59 with 7:20 left in regulation time. Wilbekin drilled home another 3-pointer but Sror and Mitchell scored at the other end as Jake Cohen was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, his 5th of the game and headed for the showers with the score 75-69 in favor of the yellow-and-blue with four minutes remaining in the quarter.
Once again Ziv came up big and hit a triple as well as a jumper while Mitchell slammed home the ball plus put in a free throw to knot the score up at 78-78 with less than a minute to go but Wilbekin drained a a winner shot of his own with 2 seconds left in the game to send Maccabi into the final.