Israel is in the Finals! The Israel Under-20 Basketball Team advanced to the U20 FIBA Championships in Chemnitz, Germany after defeating France 83-57 in the semifinals. The Blue & White will face Croatia on Sunday at 8pm Israel time in the winner take all final. Michael Brisker led the attack with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, Yovel Zoosman dropped 17 points and Deni Avdija added 15 points and 7 rebounds in the dominating win.
Israel took a 25-13 lead after ten minutes as Brisker and Zoosman ran wild on the France defense while the second frame was more of the same as the Blue & White took a 20-point, 45-25 lead into halftime. Beit Halachmi’s squad didn’t give the French a chance in the third quarter as Zoosman scored at will to help Israel to a 30-point 66-36 advantage after 30 minutes. The last quarter saw garbage time aplenty as Israel put a nice bow on a well deserved 83-57 victory and a trip to the finals where they’ll meet Croatia for the Gold.
Michael Brisker looked back at the win, “Amazing. We played together as a team and we’re a team. I hope we can win the final. The coach pushed us to give 150% in practice, we played terrific defense and we were great on offense. Our defense characterizes us. We keep plugging away every day and these are the results.”
Gil Beni who scored 11 points going 3/4 from beyond the arc added, “What an incredible feeling. As each game goes by I’m believing more and more. It would be great if the Final ended the same way. It’s looked easy, but we begin the game with a ton of pressure and we want it more than the other team. That what makes all the difference.”
Head Coach Ariel Beit Halachmi also summed up the victory, “I think we’re as good as any other team here. We didn’t think the game against France was going to be this easy, but when you have a road map, good things happen. This is truly a group of players with a tremendous amount of character.”
Quick Hits – Winger Tal Ben Chaim plays 72 minutes for Sparta Prague in 2:0 season opening winover Opava…Hapoel Tel Aviv drew 1:1 Panionios as did Ashdod draw with Spartak Moscow 1:1 in preseason friendlies…Hapoel Hadera fell to Lech Poznan 2:1, Kiryat Shemona defeated Zilina 3:1 and Maccabi Petah Tikva beat Rudes 3:0 in a preseason friendlies…