Hapoel Tel Aviv force deciding game 3 with 70-62 win over Kiryat Ata

Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated Kiryat Ata 70-62 to even up their semifinal series at 1-1 thanks to stellar play down the stretch by Tyler Ennis and set up a decisive game three slated for Monday night back in the Drive In Arena.

Photo credit: Basket.co.il

Tomer Ginat and Jaylen Hoard scored early and often for Hapoel Tel Aviv while Amin Stevens and Raz Adam countered for Kiryat Ata but the Reds took a 17-13 lead after ten minutes of play. Isaiah Miles opened the second quarter with a pair of triples, Bar Timor also went from deep, Stevens scored inside while Ben Saraf found points at the half-time buzzer to knot he game up at 34-34.

John Holland – Photo credit: Basket.co.il

John Holland dialed up long distance and Tyler Ennis scored to begin the third quarter, Akia Pruitt and Ben Saraf responded as Stevens, Xavier Munford and James Batemon traded baskets but a deuce by Tomer Ginat gave Stefanos Dedas’s team a 54-49 lead after thirty minutes of action. Saraf and Timor scored for their respective teams to get the fourth quarter underway, JJ Kaplan put in a 3-point play, Adam went from deep, Ennis came right back from the inside and outside while Holland also scored to set up a decisive game three.

Ben Saraf – Photo credit: Basket.co.il

Ennis scored 17 points, Ginat added 12 points while Holland, Munford and Timor each had 9 points a piece in the win. Stevens scored 16 points and Saraf added 10 points in the loss.

“I’m happy because this is the first do or die game that the team showed character until the end,” Hapoel head coach Stefanos Dedas said. “We prepared well and we deserved the win. “It’s been really difficult to control this team after less than two months being here. At some moments it’s a big mess but if we win Monday we play in the finals.”

“We didn’t shoot well from the line and left 14 points there which hurt us,” Kiryat Ata bench boss Sharon Avrahami said. “We played well defensively but not well enough offensively. It was a big game and i am proud of the guys. There were a couple of calls that were questionable but we did have a great journey so far and we have another game to advance to the finals.”

The game MVP Tyler Ennis spoke about the victory, “It’s the playoffs and we knew if we lost we go home so we wanted to give ourselves another chance. We became aggressive and we got stops at the end. We are figuring it out, there are times when we look good and times when we don’t. I just want to play my game and help the team out.”

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