Maccabi advances to Israel League Finals but injury to Eilat’s Casey Prather overshadows Yellow & Blue victory

Maccabi Tel Aviv squeaked by Hapoel Eilat 80-79 to advance to the Israel Basketball League finals winning their best of three series 2-0. However, the victory was overshadowed by Casey Prather’s horrific knee injury near the end of the clash after having been named as a First Team All-Star prior to the contest.

Ariel Beit Halachmi’s forward went down with 12 seconds left in the game with his team trailing by one and needed to be taken off the court in a wheelchair as he was taken to the hospital for x-rays and treatment.

Casey Prather – Photo Credit:

Chris Jones starred for Maccabi as he took the bull by the horns to help keep the Yellow & Blue in the game throughout the 40 minutes and then lead his team to the win.

Chris Jones – Photo Credit:

Jones scored 27 points, added 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Scottie Wilbekin chipped in with 15 points while Omri Casspi and Othello Hunter each scored 9 points in the win. Prather led the way fro Eilat with 28 points, 8 boards and 8 assists, while Markel Brown scored 21 points in the tight loss.

Meron Ruina – Photo Credit:

Hapoel Eilat jumped out to a quick elad as center Meron Ruina scored at will inside and Casey Prather added points from the outside as the Red Sea squad led 10-2 over Maccabi Tel Aviv midway through the first quarter. Chris Jones came in to the game an calmed the Yellow & Blue down as he scored at will while Omri Casspi added points as well to take the lead, but triples by Jonathan Sjkoldebrand and Prather helped evened the score up at 20-20 after ten minutes of action.

Casey Prather – Photo Credit:

Roi Huber opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer and Prather kept adding points, while Jones and Othello Hunter countered for Maccabi as Eilat went ahead 28-26 with 6:55 left in the frame. Ben Carter scored off the glass, Prather and Markel Brown went from downtown and Sjkoldebrand found points but Oz Blayzer nailed a corner 3-pointer and Jones hit a pull up jumper. Brown put down a monster dunk and Prather went from deep and Brown added a jumper to bump up the Red Sea squad lead to 48-40 at halftime.

Chris Jones – Photo Credit:

Jones started off the third quarter with a pair of steals that led to a pair of baskets and then sent court length passes to Hunter and Caloiaro who each put in points to cut the Eilat lead to just 2-points, 50-48. Brown and Scottie Wilbekin traded triples, Zizic scored inside as Brown finished the frame off with points to keep Eilat in front 58-54 after thirty minutes of play.

Othello Hunter – Photo Credit:

Ragland and Jones began the fourth quarter by trading baskets, Angelo Caloiaro scored off the glass, Brown answered at the other end as he nailed corner 3-pointer but Hunter scored inside to pull Maccabi to with 65-63 midway through the final frame. Casspi and Prather scored at ether end, Jones drilled a triple, Prather put in a pair of baskets while Jones hit a long two and Wilbekin hit a long 3 to give Maccabi a 76-75 lead with under a minute left in regulation time.

Prather scored a pair of free throws while Casspi answered for Maccabi, but then tragedy struck as Prather went in for a layup and his right knee buckled sending him to the ground screaming in pain. The forward was taken off in a wheelchair as Wilbekin and Jones scored from the line to seal the win and send the Yellow & Blue into the finals.

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