Rotberg takes bull by the horns to give Ramle 2-0 championship series lead over Jerusalem

Apr 12, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Elitzur Ramle put a stranglehold on the Israel Women’s Basketball League Championship series with a razor thin 95-94 drastic game two victory over Hapoel Lev Jerusalem in the capital city. Following a 99-91 win in game one in Ramle, Danny Gutt’s squad knew that a victory in the second game would put his team in the drivers seat with game three being held back in Ramle on Monday at 6:45pm.

With that in mind, star Jennie Simms helped pace the visitors to an early double digit lead but the hosts led by Shir Tirosh and Breanna Richardson came storming back to take a 5-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, that was before Eden Rotberg put her mark on the game scoring 17 of Ramle’s final 19 points to just edge out the Reds by a point.

Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Rotberg was on a mission as she took the proverbial bull by the horns and willed her team to the win.

Whether it was cutting to the hoop, hitting a 3-pointer or just bullying her way into the paint to ensure her team was not going to lose, Rotberg was the consummate winner in a fourth quarter for the ages as she ended the game with 33 points in an all-star performance.

Big time players step up at big time moments and that is what Rotberg did.

Eden Rotberg – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“That just comes with our leadership and maturity,” Jennie Simms said of Rotberg and the magnificent fourth quarter comeback. “We’ve been here before and Eden has been here multiple times. I’ve been in these situations here in different moments abroad and it comes with our maturity and age just being able to lead our team and knowing that the level of energy brings a lot.”

Rotberg’s coach Danny Gutt has seen a few things over the course of his career in the sport of basketball and knew that he could trust his star in crunch time down the stretch to lockdown the victory.

“I have run out of words to talk about Eden,” Gutt exclaimed. “She is unbelievable. As a decision I said I was putting the ball in her hands from the middle of the third quarter which she did in exceptional fashion and the others gave her the opportunity to do those things. On defense, they all gave a tremendous effort.”

Danny Gutt – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

One could see how drained Rotberg was following the game as she gave every ounce that she had for the team to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat.

“I’m really tired, exhausted but very happy that we really stepped up and in the last quarter we raised our energies and took the win. It is very, very important mentally. We have to learn a lot from this game as Jerusalem is an excellent team that is what is really preparing us to play at such a very high level. 2-0 is very important mentally, as I said, but in the end there is another game and they will come to battle and they will really come to play hard, I have no doubt about that at all”.

Limor Peleg’s Jerusalem have an awfully difficult hole to dig out of, but they will have to do that one game at a time as the head coach explained while sitting dejected on her team’s bench after the game.

Limor Peleg – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“I think that we were the better team in game one and game two and both games we lost. I think Ramle is a good team but they have along of help from the refs unfortunately and that’s what killed us, just the fouls. The players stepped it up even more in this game. They gave it all and they fought. Only if they come like that to game three then we have a chance to win.”

Game three will be the first chance for Ramle to capture the championship and there is no question that they would like to polish off the series in front of their home crowd.

“Our ability to function under pressure and make both defensive and offensive moves is something that we bring to the table,” Gutt said. “I hope we bring the energy next time from the beginning of the game and not just in the last quarter. We need to minimize our turnovers as we had 25 turnovers in this game. We need to guard better and box-out for rebounds which should be one of the things we excel at on both sides of the court.”

Jennie Simms – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Jennie Simms pointed out that in basketball runs can prove to be very significant especially from the metal side of the game, “It’s important to know that basketball is a game of runs. In the first game they got up on us and we came back. The second game we got up on them and they came back. Sometimes it’s a long game and just knowing that we can do it and to keep believing. This game was about one-point and last game was ten. At the end of the day, just knowing that we have to keep the foot on the gas and not put our heads down when they got on that run.”

For Jerusalem, Peleg spoke about what she felt her team needed to do in order to come away with the game three win at Ramle, “We have to improve on turnovers, decision making especially at the end when it’s clutch time we had too many turnovers just like last game.”

Eden Rotberg – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Rotberg has one thing in mind for Monday’s game three which is how Ramle will be able to sweep the series and hoist the championship plate in front of the home crowd, “I think that we need to play from the first moment of game three with the energy that we brought in the fourth quarter because it starts with defense and when we defend, it obviously effects our offense. We come in with experience which is also helpful and important, but in the end our team effort is what matters and what will help us win the game.”

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