The Israel National Basketball Team played a pair of exhibition games in Hungary ahead of the Pre-Qualifying Olympic Tournament and came away with mixed results and some distressing news.
Blue-and-white captain Tomer Ginat went down with a shoulder injury in the first half of the team’s opening game. Upon the team’s return to Israel, the Hapoel Tel Aviv forward will have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. In his place, Bar Timor was appointed as the acting captain.
Head coach Ariel Beit Halachmi spoke about the injury, “It’s really sad to see a player get hurt and he’s a central player and our captain. He’s a player that I really like and I hope that he will get better soon and that it’s not a serious injury. Tomer is a very important part of the national team not just on the professional side but also on the personal side as well.”
Israel came away with a 90-68 win over Hungary in the first of two games as Roman Sorkin with 22 points, Oz Blayzer with 12 points and Gaby Chachashvili with 10 points led the way for the blue-and-white.
“All in all I thought we played a good game while the first half was a bit tough,” Beit Halachmi said following the contest. “It took us some time to get into the flow and our defense wasn’t focused but in the second half we played much better. I think we can be content with the way we played and our style. We still have plenty more work to do but we have players that we can count on.”
Iceland topped Israel 81-79 in a close battle as Roman Sorkin once again led all scorers with 24 points and 9 rebounds while Yam Madar added 16 points after a quiet first game.
“This wasn’t a great game and we started it asleep,” Beit Halachmi began. “We then took the lead and we had to finish the game off but we weren’t able to which gave Iceland a lot of confidence. We made many mistakes at the end of the game and it’s good that this happened now so that we can correct these things. This is a game that we can learn from and we have to look ahead as we have another tournament next week. We’ll learn from these two games and we will come into the next ones with a different approach.”
In Serbia, the Israel Under-18 team defeated Greece 88-77 and will play for 5th place against Turkey on Sunday (14:00) at the European Championships. Shachar Doron with 19 points and Omer Mayer with 18 points paced the young blue-and-white.
The Israel Under-20 Women’s team fell to Serbia 73-70 in a close game to open up their European Championship campaign. Hila Karsh with 20 points, Emma Rinat with 18 points and Dorian Dahan with 14 points led the blue-and-white. Next up for Israel will be Czechia on Sunday at 8:30pm.