Hapoel Gilboa Galil defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 81-76 to send the Finals to a decisive game 3 on Thursday night at Yad Eliyahu. The Galilee team came out strong as Kerry Blackshear took the game right to the yellow-and-blue as Avishay Gordon’s squad grabbed a quick 30-16 lead after the first quarter.
However, Scottie Wilbekin kept Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team in the game and cut down the lead over the course of the second half, knotting up the score up at 74-74 with two minutes remaining. But Joe Thomasson drilled home a 3-pointer, Iftach Ziv hit a fadeaway jumper in the paint and made a couple of terrific defensive stops to secure the 5-point victory to send the series back to Tel Aviv for a winner take all matchup.
Blackshear led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Thomasson drained 17 points and Ziv added 12 points in the win. Wilbekin scored 34 points, Chris Jones added 14 points and John DiBartolomeo chipped in with 8 points in the loss.
Maccabi Tel Aviv travelled up to the Galilee for a date with Hapoel Gilboa Galil as the two clubs battled it out in game two of the Israel Basketball League Finals. The yellow-and-blue looked to wrap up the best of three series after taking game one on Monday night at Yad Eliyahu to win their fourth league championship in a row.
Joe Thomasson got the proceedings underway as the guard hit a baseline floater which was followed up by a dunk by Iftach Ziv after stripping the ball from Yovel Zoosman in the mid court while Kerry Blackshear also added a deuce in the paint to give Hapoel Gilboa Galil a 6-0 lead early on in the first quarter.
Ante Zizic slammed the ball for Maccabi Tel Aviv’s first points of the game, but Netanel Artzi nailed a corner 3-pointer, Jehyve Floyd added points inside while Ziv and Thomasson each went from deep to bump up the advantage to 22-7 early on. TJ Cline and Chris Jones hit from outside but Gil Beni drilled a triple as the frame ended with Gilboa Galil ahead 30-16 against a shell shocked Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Scottie Wilbekin opened the second quarter with a pair of 3-pointers, Blackshear and Hanochi matched Maccabi at the other end but Jones countered from deep as Avishay Gordon’s team stayed in front 38-27 with 5:50 left in half. John Dibartolomeo got into the act with a triple, but Ziv and Blackshear responded at the other end, however, Wilbekin scored a pair of floaters, added free throws and nailed one from long distance to keep Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad hanging around but down 51-40 at halftime.
The third quarter got underway with Wilbekin hitting another 3-pointer and then a right handed floater in the lane, Floyd answered with an alleyoop while Zizic put in a dunk to cut Gilboa’s lead to 53-49 midway through the period. Cousins scored at the end of the shot clock, Blackshear added a jumper but DiBartolomeo went in for a clear layup and went from downtown, however, Gilboa continued to lead 64-54 after thirty minutes of action.
Jones and Wilbekin began the fourth quarter with a triple a piece, Blackshear answered but Wilbekin once again went from deep as Maccabi cut the lead down to 71-65 in favor of Gilboa with 5:48 left in regulation time. Angelo Caloiaro who had been quiet all night long drilled home a 3-pointer, Hunter scored a pair of free throws, but Floyd posterized Hunter to keep Gilboa ahead 74-70 with 3:14 left in the frame. Jones scored a jumper, Wilbekin went for a pair from the line to tie the game up at 74-74 with two minutes remaining in the clock.
But Thomasson scored a cold blooded 3-pointer, Ziv hit a fadeaway in the lane and Thomason scored free throws to send the series to a decisive game three on Thursday.