Hapoel Holon moved onto the Israel State Cup Final Four with a thrilling 85-79 double overtime victory over Hapoel Haifa. Frerderic Bourdillon came up big during the final frame and the two over time periods to will his team to the win.
Both sides duked it out early as the hosts jumped out to a first quarter lead on solid play by Joe Ragland, Michale Kyser and Rafi Menco, but the Carmel Reds came back in the second frame with points by Kadeem Allen and Gregory Vargas to grab a 41-27 advantage at halftime.
Guy Goodes’s team began chipping away at the lead in the third quarter as Ragland took control of the game while Bourdillon, Adam Smith and Steva Zack cancelled out Allen and Vargas’s fourth quarter efforts to head into the extra session knotted up at 64-64.
Ragland and Bourdillon hit key buckets while Will Rayman and Scottie James helped Elad Hasin’s team keep pace in the first overtime, but Bourdillon’s triple and free throws in the second session helped punch Holon’s ticket to the State Cup semifinals.
“State Cup games have their own rules,” Goodes said after the win. “You have to prepare yourself mentally for the various challenges that happen in this type of game. We are still coming together with our changes.”
“This was a State Cup game that was like a boxing match,” Hasin explained. “The players were after each other the entire game and we had this one in our hands, we played well and were up by 16 points. But mistakes and fatigue caught up to us.”
Buckets by Michale Kyser, Joe Ragland and a triple by Rafi Menco got Hapoel Holon off to a quick start forcing Hapoel Haifa to call an early time out with the hosts ahead 9-2 in the first quarter. Ex-Holonia forward Amit Simhon was met with a chorus of boos when he scored in the paint, Gregory Vargas went from downtown but Chris Johnson scored a baseline runner to keep Guy Goodes’s team ahead 11-7 midway through the period. Kyser found points on the inside, after a number of misses, Niv Misgav drained a 3-pointer as time wound down on the shot clock and Menco dialled up long distance to put Holon in front 19-11 after ten minutes of play.
James Dickey began the second quarter with a pair of buckets, Spencer Weisz nailed a triple and Kadeem Allen added a basket to rip off a 10-0 run for Elad Hasin’s squad to take a 21-19 lead with 7:05 left until halftime. Allen and Ofek Avital went from deep, Johnson answered with one of his own, but Vargas and Scottie James powered in points in the paint, Allen came back inside for a basket and one while Vargas drilled home yet another 3-pointer to give Haifa a 41-27 lead at the half.
Allen opened up the scoring to begin the third quarter, Menco answered with a runner off the glass, Allen kept scoring at will with a 3-pointer but Ragland came back with a layup and Johnson drained a corner 3-ball but Haifa stayed in front 46-34 midway through the frame. Ragland and Kyser found points inside, Ragland then went from downtown, but Allen and Egor Nestrenko scored to keep Haifa in the lead 53-49 agate thirty minutes of action.
Ragland went from deep to get the fourth quarter underway, Nestrenko responded with a jumper from the foul line, Frederic Bourdillon drained a 3-pointer for his first points of the game and while Ragland did the same to put Holon ahead 58-56 with under five minutes to go in regulation time. Vargas hit a midrange, Steve Zack came back with a dunk, Adam Smith added points but Allen pulled Haifa to within 2-points, 62-60 with 1:08 left in the quarter. Allen made a layup and one, Vargas hit one of two from the line and Kyser put down a dunk to send the game to overtime all knotted up at 64-64.
Nestrenko began the extra session with points off the glass, Ragland drilled a corner 3-ball and then dished off to Zack in the paint for a basket and one, but Scottie James did the same at the other end to keep the score tied at 70-70 with 2:29 remaining. Will Rayman dialled up long distance from the corner, Bourdillon matched him from straight away dead center as the game went into a second overtime, 73-73.
Smith hit a jumper, Bourdillon went from deep and then hit a pair of free throws, Nestrenko answered for Haifa but Smith scored two from the stripe as well to wrap up the 85-79 win for Holon to send them to the Israel State Cup Final Four.