Hapoel Holon downed Hapoel Jerusalem 93-78 as Joe Ragland’s all-world performance gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in their best of three semifinal series. Guy Goodes’s team can earn a place in the final with a win at home on Monday night as they will look to wrap up the series while Yotam Halperin’s team will try to bring the series back to the Jerusalem Arena for a decisive game three.
Both sides began the game with stifling defense but Holon grabbed a 19-10 lead with the help of Tyrus McGee and Hayden Dalton, however, the second quarter saw Joe Ragland begin to heat up as the guard finished the half with 14 points and the visitors held a 45-36 advantage at halftime.
Ragland continued to score at will over the course of the second half with 26 more points as Suleiman Braimoh and KC Rivers tried their best to keep the reds close but Holon took the 15-point victory and the 1-0 series lead.
Joe Ragland led the way with 40 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals and an efficiency rating of 47, Tyrus McGee added 18 points, Hayden Dalton scored 13 points and Michale Kyser chipped in with 10 points in the win. Suleiman Braimoh paced Jerusalem with 20 points, KC Rivers added 16 points and Jalen Adams scored 13 points in the loss.
“The fans really helped the team today,” Holon coach Guy Goodes said. “The guys were focused and we were able to do what we needed to. It was a challenge to win in the arena which was the first time that Holon did so in over 5 years. We now took the home court advantage to Holon and we have to win Monday in odder not to have to come back here.”
“We’re pretty disappointed right now,” Jerusalem bench boss Yotam Halperin said. “We don’t have much time to think about the loss as we have to look at what we can do better on Monday. From a defensive side we have to do better than to give up 93 points at home. Joe Ragland did things in this game that were hard to stop and he had a great game but now we have to bring this series back home.”
The game MVP Joe Ragland reflected on his performance, “We had to win and I just tried to attack and be aggressive. I think that this was the best game but right now is not the time to celebrate we still have work to do.”
Noam Dovrat also spoke about the game from his point of view, “Joe Ragland was a big problem but there were other problems that we have to deal with and will need to improve going into the next game. We have to take better shots and if we miss we have to keep going.”
Hapoel Holon’s Tyrus McGee knocked down the first shot of the game 2:30 into the first quarter as he nailed a corner 3-ball, Retin Obasohan responded with a deuce off of the glass for Hapoel Jerusalem, but Rafi Menco and McGee each drilled home triples to give Guy Goodes’s team a 9-2 lead Monday through the period. Michale Kyser scored inside, John Egbunu put down an Obasohan miss, Chris Johnson cleaned up a Hayden Dalton free throw miss and hit a 3-pointer while Dalton dialled up long distance to put Guy Goodes’s squad in front 19-10 after ten minutes of play.
Noam Dovrat and Jalen Adams hit triples to begin the second quarter, McGee went off the glass as did Joe Ragland, Suleiman Braimoh scored inside and then outside to help Yotam Halperin’s team cut the Holon lead to 24-21 with 6:18 left in the half. Ragland scored a jumper, Kyser added points with a put back, McGee agin went from deep while KC Rivers answered right back.
But Ragland snatched a board and scored, Adam Ariel responded as he drilled home a 3-pointer, Ragland scored a pair of triples, Johnson scored in the paint as did Frederic Bourdillon in a scoring frenzy for Holon but Rivers dialled up long distance for Jerusalem who trailed 45-36 at halftime.
Obasohan opened the third quarter with a basket, Ragland swished another 3-pointer, Kyser dunked, Egbunu scored a 3-point play, but Ragland scored a layup to keep Holon ahead 52-45 midway through the frame. Dalton and Ragland swished triples, Braimoh scored in the paint, Kyser did the same at the other end, Ragland went deep twice and added points form the charity stripe to take his game total to 32 points and send Holon into the final quarter in control 72-56 after thirty minutes of action.
Rivers started out the fourth quarter with a deuce, Adams put in a baseline layup, Ragland sent from way way downtown as Rivers responded but the purples continued to lead 76-64 with 5:58 remaining in regulation time. Ragland went from deep, Adams and Rivers scored in the paint, McGee came back with an acrobatic layup, Dalton scored from beyond the arc, McGee scored, Dovrat went from downtown, Menco answered as Holon out the finishing touches in the game one win.