Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion dunked Hapoel Jerusalem 90-84 to punch their ticket to the Israel State Cup Finals. The Reds held the lead for the majority of the game with superb performances by Suleiman Braimoh and Malcolm Hill but Golan Gutt in arguably his best game as a pro to go along with Isaiah Taylor’s magnificent fourth quarter were able to help Guy Goodes’s squad to the victory.
Golan Gutt opened the game with a corner 3-pointer for Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion but quick baskets from J’Covan Brown and Malcolm Hill but another triple from Gutt and a dunk by Akil Mitchell gave Guy Goodes’s squad a 10-7 lead midway through the first quarter. Suleiman Braimoh scored a 3-point play, but Gutt hit his third from deep in the frame, Mitchell scored inside, Trey Lewis went for a pair from downtown, however, buckets in the paint by Adi Cohen Saban and Hill kept the score close 22-20 in favor of Rishon after ten minutes.
Hill scored to get the second quarter underway while Jamil Wilson and Hill each dropped 3-pointers to give Dainius Adomaitis’s team a 28-23 lead forcing Rishon to call a timeout ready on in the frame. Mitchell immediately found points, but Hill dialed another one up from long distance and Tashawn Thomas scored his first points of the game as the Reds stayed in front 35-26 with 4:30 remaining in the half. Braimoh put down a dunk and Tamir Blatt a triple but Gutt with two quick baskets and a deuce by Nimrod Tishman led Rishon to a 10-1 run to get within 41-39 at halftime.
Brown nailed his first 3-pointer of the game to start the third quarter while Braimoh added points as well, Gutt kept scoring for Rishon but Hill did the same for Jerusalem as they stayed ahead 52-45 midway through the frame. Idan Zalmanson notched two easy buckets in the paint for the Reds, but an injured Noam Dovrat scored from outside, Mitchell from the inside while Gutt went from downtown and Isaiah Taylor scored a layup on the buzzer to send the game into the decisive period all tied up at 60-60.
Noam Avivi drilled a triple to begin the fourth quarter, while Brown, Braimoh and Thomas scored for Jerusalem to take a 69-65 lead with 6:39 left in regulation time. Mitchell jammed the ball out of the timeout and Lewis nailed a trey while Taylor scored a pair of layups and free throws to give Rishon a 83-76 advantage with under a minute to go. Braimoh hit another clutch triple but free throws by Mitchell, Tishman and Taylor helped Rishon Le’Zion to a 90-84 win and a trip to the Finals.