Up north in the Galilee, Hapoel Gilboa Galil dropped Bnei Herzliya 78-72 to advance to the quarterfinals where they will take on Hapoel Holon. The hosts led for the majority of the contest thanks to solid first half play from Yotam Hanochi and Amit Gershon, while in the second half Iftach ZIv and Joe Thomasson turned on the jets to pull away and pick up the win.
Ziv led Gilboa with 17 points, Thomasson scored 13 points, grabbed 6 boards and added 7 assists, Netanel Artzi chipped in with 12 points while Gershon scored 10 points in the win. Kendall Anthony impressed for Herzliya with 21 points and City Clarke scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the loss.
1) I loved the signing of Joe Thomasson back in the spring when the guard joined the Galilee club for the balance of the 2020/21 season and even had a chance to host him on my show Holy Land Hoops. I knew back then that he was a keeper, a gamer and someone I would want to got to war with on a game in and game out basis. You know exactly what you’re going to get with Thomasson, a player who is going to leave it all on the line for the good of the team and his teammates. Thomasson spoke about how he felt getting back out on the court and taking on more of a leadership role, “I felt good being back out there. I feel better, stronger and more confident. I’m just ready to embrace the new challenge of being a leader on the team and helping my guys get better while still finding a way to have success individually as well.”
2) As for the victory, Thomasson credited the team being able to play together as a unit especially on defense, “The keys for the win was staying disciplined on defense, staying to our principles and trusting our teammates to make plays and not being selfish and holding onto the ball. Plus getting stops when we needed them.”
3) Gilboa will now face Holon in the quarterfinals of the WINNER Cup in a one game elimination matchup and Thomasson has a bit of revenge on his mind after falling to Stefanos Dedas’s squad a couple of weeks ago, “I’m excited to face Holon again as they beat us a couple of weeks ago. It’s always good to play against a team gain to build out character and camaraderie. It should be a fun, interesting and competitive game. We lost to them once before and we have that ugly taste in our mouth. The game will be more competitive than the last time and it should be fun for sure.”