Maccabi Tel Aviv captured the Israel Basketball League title with a 73-67 win over Hapoel Gilboa Galil to take the best of three finals series 2-1. The yellow-and-blue came out strong as finals MVP Scottie Wilbekin helped Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team to a 42-29 halftime lead as Gilboa’s Kerry Blackshear and Jehyve Floyd got into early foul trouble.
Avishay Gordon’s team made a frantic fourth quarter comeback on the strength of Amit Gershon and Joe Thomasson to pull to within 3-points, 63-60 but clutch baskets by Othello Hunter and Chris Jones sent Maccabi to their 55th league title and 4th in a row.
Scottie Wilbekin led the way with 19 points while Chris Jones and Angelo Caloiaro each scored 10 points. Amit Gershon was Gilboa’s high scorer with 14 points, Iftach Ziv added 11 points and Jehyve Floyd chipped in with 9 points in the defeat.
Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Hapoel Gilboa Galil in the decisive game of the Israel Basketball League finals as the teams split the first two games of the best of three series. Gilboa were able to stay alive with a convincing 81-76 win at Gan Ner on Wednesday night to even up the series after the yellow-and-blue had won the opening game on Monday evening at Yad Eliyahu.
Angelo Caloiaro opened the game with a corner 3-pointer but Iftach Ziv put in a layup and Jehyve Floyd put down his patented alleyoop dunk as well as a layup to give Gilboa a 7-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Omri Casspi went from deep as did Wilbekin for a pair of triples while Chris Jones went in for an uncontested layup as did TJ Cline to give Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad a 24-15 advantage after ten minutes.
Amit Gershon got the second quarter started with a long 3-pointer but John DiBartolomeo answered right back at the other end while Wilbekin added another one from downtown as well to give Maccabi a 30-18 lead with 6:54 remaining in the period. Gil Beni and Netanel Artzi each scored a deuce for Avishay Gordon’s team but Caloiaro drilled a corner 3-ball as did Jones but Artzi countered at the other end, however another Wilbekin triple sent the Yellow & Blue into halftime up 42-29.
Maccabi center Othello Hunter put down an alleyoop to begin the third quarter, Yovel Zoosman added points in the paint as did Casspi to bump up the lead to 50-29 midway through the frame. Floyd put down a dunk, Isaiah Cousins added points in the inside and outside, Artzi put in layup, Amit Gershon went from downtown and Thomasson scored to cut down the Maccabi lead but buckets by TJ Cline, Ante Zizic and a triple by Yovel Zoosman kept the Yellow & Blue in front 61-47 after thirty minutes of action.
Thomasson scored the first points of the fourth quarter with a midrange jumper, Gershon drained a 3-pointer and Thomasson added a layup to bring Gilboa to within 61-54 with 5 minutes remaining in regulation time. Casspi put in a baseline layup, but Blackshear answered at the other end along with Gershon’s triple to get the visitors to just -3, 63-60 with 3:11 left in the frame. Hunter and Jones scored to give to Maccabi some breathing room as Wilbekin hit his free throws to help the yellow-and-biue the League championship.