It was far, far from a basketball game as the Reds demolished the Galilee team 84-42 in what was one of the most lopsided wins in the history of the league.
There is no question that Gilboa was shorthanded having already started the series down one foreigner and would feature only 3 imports while Jerusalem had five with two more that weren’t even dressed. But after London Perrantes went down in game 2 of the series after having led his team to a shocking game one victory all Kaplan had left in his arsenal was the ability to play aggressive basketball which is what he did.
However, in order to be competitive you need more than just bringing intensity and aggressiveness to the court. You’ve got to have some talent and players who can also find the bottom of the basket.
Unfortunately, Gilboa had very little of that in a game 4 that saw them end with a grand total of 2 in efficiency rating and quarters in which they scored 15, 8, 11, 8 points over the four frames. Add to that being blocked 12 times and a game that saw 108 total rebounds (!) and boy did we get quite the contest.
Jerusalem put the pedal to the metal after the game one loss and made Gilboa pay as much as they could winning the final three games by a total of 104 points. But the effort they put in once being under the gun will most probably help them in their upcoming series against Hapoel Holon who have more depth and more talent than Gilboa.
“We came as clear favorites,” Jerusalem bench boss Yotam Halperin explained. “It’s clear that it’s not easy once you lose at home to open the series and then have to go on the road for game 2. We were under pressure when we went to Gan Ner but we played well to win game 2. Game 3 was also tough at the beginning, but we found solutions to take the victory. Overall, I’m happy that we came back up here and completed the job.”
Reds guard Retin Obasohan who was the game MVP also reflected his team’s performance, “I think the tone for this series was really set in the first game. Both teams came out to play hard and physical. We had to adapt and respond and remind ourselves about who we are and how we can be successful as a team as well as being consistent with that.”
Gilboa and Kaplan can be proud of their season as a whole after handling many injuries along the way plus finding a way to make the playoffs and also winning game one on the road putting Yotam Halperin and his squad under pressure.
“At the end of the day, the fact that we played a game 4 at home means something about us,” Kaplan explained. “I had a talk with London Perrantes and we said that this series is like the entire season where people counted us out. From that place where nobody thought that we would be able to succeed, we competed and I’m proud of that.”
“I can look in the mirror and say we did the best that we could. It was very challenging this season and we had a lot of injuries and tough losing streaks. I feel that I have become a better coach as I experienced many situations this season and it’s more experience under my belt.”
Guy Goodes has many more years of experience as both a player and a coach and while Holon crew may have fallen to Jerusalem in all of their previous matchups that was the regular season, not the playoffs which is a totally different story Halperin explained.
“We see so many things happen in the playoffs and Friday is a new day, a new game and a new series with a life of its own. It’s a short series and every possession is important. I know who I have in the locker so regarding intensity, it we will be there.”
One of the club’s midseason acquisitions Noam Dovrat played under coach Goodes at Rishon Le’Zion is also aware that the playoffs are an entirely different story, “The upcoming series is shorter and it’s against a better team. Holon is an entirely different story. We will have to play quality basketball Friday because we can’t afford to lose. When we step onto the floor it’s 0-0 and whoever wins the series will go to the finals. We can’t even think about the previous games between the two clubs.”
Obasohan knows that whatever was learned from the Gilboa series will come in handy when they begin the semifinal series on Friday, “That’s the beauty of the playoffs, every game will write its own story. We will take the lessons that we need to learn from the last 4 games, regroup and Friday will be a totally different story but we have to bring our best.”
Jerusalem knows that Holon will be a much greater test and that a 3 game series puts much, much more pressure to win in Friday’s game one.
“We need to keep doing our thing,” Halperin said. “We won a few games pretty easily but we know that Friday will be different. The defense is what brought us these wins and the opportunity to be in this position. It’s clear to us that we will play a much better team and we will have to improve.”
Dovrat agreed with his coach, “I hope this past series gave us a taste as to how to be focused in the first game coming up against Holon. The first game is extremely important and I think that when we bring our energy we can beat any team but we need to go game by game and there are 4 wins to go in order to reach our goal.”