Hapoel Holon defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 89-80 to punch their ticket to the Winner Cup Semifinals where they will face the winner of the Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Eilat quarterfinal clash on Tuesday night.
Maurizio Buscaglia’s squad had balanced scoring over the course of the first half as Steven Gray led the way while Joe Ragland paced the team during the second half to capture the win.
Ragland scored 25 points, Micale Kyser and Steven Gray each scored 16 points and Chris Johnson added 15 points in the win. Idan Zalmanson led the way for the Reds with 18 points, James Young chipped in with 16 points and JP Tokoto scored 13 points in the loss.
“It was a good win for us in September as we are trying to get the system down,” Ragland explained following the victory. We tried to bring the energy, fight and compete.”
Coach Buscaglia also reflected in the win, “We wanted to show energy and how read the game. We also wanted to use our basketball concepts, to play together with a defensive effort and share the ball. We shot well but struggled against the zone.”
Tel Aviv bench boss Danny Franco looked back on the defeat, “I’m very content that we are playing these games in order to see where we are and for the players that haven’t had the experience to play here at the arena. We played below our potential at both ends of the floor and we wanted to win but to want isn’t enough, both teams want and Holon is a team that can punish you.”
“There’s no question we played a very good team with a big crowd,” Raz Adam began. “We will have to learn from this game and use that experience. We have to look at ourselves and see what we can take from this game into the next one.”
Both teams came out flying to begin the game as 16 different players scored over the course of the first ten minutes as Steven Gray and Rafi Menco led Holon while Idan Zalmanson and JP Tokoto paced Hapoel Tel Aviv but it was Buscaglia’s team that held a 26-21 lead at the end of the frame. Joe Ragland, Chris Johnson and Michale Kyser got to work in the second quarter while Raz Adam countered for Danny Franco’s squad but fell behind 45-33 at halftime.
James Young and Tokoto looked to make a dent in Holon’s advantage but Ragland, Gray and Rafi Menco stayed hot hitting their shots from inside and outside of the arc to take a 71-58 lead after three quarters of play. Ragland kept pouring in the points but Young, Zalmanson and Bar Timor countered to pull the Reds to within 5-points, 80-75 with four minutes to go in regulation time.
However, Kyser, Ragland and Johnson all scored down the stretch to seal the victory and move on to Thursday night’s semifinal matchup against the winner of the Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Eilat quarterfinal.