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Israeli League, Winner Cup: October 14-18, 2007
Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv celebrated its first title for the new season by beating Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem 93-74 in the final of the Israeli League's preseason competition, the Winner Cup in Malha arena in Jerusalem on Thursday night. Yotam Halperin scored 21 points to lead Maccabi and David Bluthenthal, who was named tournament MVP, drilled 5 three-pointers for 15 points to set the stage for team captain Derrick Sharp to lift the title. Hapoel survived in the game only for a few minutes in the first quarter. Halperin led Maccabi to a 21-13 lead after 10 minutes. Early in the second quarter Maccabi started its run. Halperin continued to dominate and had 17 points already by half time. Terrence Morris helped out on both ends, while Hapoel saw points only from its two former Maccabi players – Sharon Shason and Jaime Arnold, who combined for 21 points as the hosts went to the locker rooms down 44-32. Timmy Bowers tried to change the game for Hapoel, but Maccabi was on top of things, and kept a double-digit lead. Bluthenthal hit from long-range time after time and in the last quarter it was time for Lior Eliyahu and Omri Casspi, who came off the bench and increased the gap more and more. Hapoel only narrowed the difference in the last minutes and walked down with a 19-point loss, but a taste of a much bigger loss. Eliyahu added 13 points and Sharp and Casspi scored 10 each. Shason led Hapoel with 23 points, Bowers scored 17 and Arnold 12.
Maccabi beat Ironi Nahariya 78-67, while Hapoel cruised against Gilboa/Afula 95-68 in Wednesday's semifinals to advanced to the title game. It took Maccabi three quarters before finding its game against Nahariya, but it was enough for the victory. Maccabi used 14 points without a miss by Bluthenthal in the first quarter to take a 27-14 lead after 10 minutes. Once Bluthenthal calmed down, Nahariya came back with a 0-9 run, but still finished the first half down 41-39. Early in the third Nahariya took the lead and when Marcus Fizer committed his fifth foul, things didn't look good for the champs. But Vonteego Cummings made it 57-54 for Maccabi at the third quarter buzzer. It took Maccabi three more minutes before it was time to leave the opponent behind. Cummings and Halperin sent Maccabi on a 7-0 run and Nikola Vujcic set things straight in the final minutes. Bluthenthal finished with 19 points and Cummings added 15. Ashante Johnson scored 27 points had 8 rebounds for Nahariya. Hapoel had a much easier time against Gilboa/Afula. Already after one quarter Shason nailed 10 points to give his new team a 29-18 lead. Tunji Awojobi didn't have any set backs against his former team and made it just a 5-point game, but Guy Pniny stepped up to lead his team to a 48-38 lead at halftime. Hapoel started the second half with a short line up and it worked best as the margin extended to 60-41 after five minutes. The difference kept growing as Hapoel cruised to a big win. Pniny finished with 26 points, Ramel Curry added 17 in a big second half and Shason had 16. Awojobi led the losing side with 13.
Jerusalem had little trouble with Ironi Ramat Gan with a 90-70 win, while Ironi Nahariya came back from a big early deficit to upset Bnei Hasharon 81-77 in the opening games of the Winner Cup in Jerusalem on Sunday. Maccabi beat Rishon Lezion 94-81 and Gilboa/Afula topped Hapoel Galil Elyon Golan 89-85 in Monday's games. Jerusalem took off right away behind Pnini and Shason and built a 30-10 lead. Shason was joined by Arnold and by halftime Hapoel held a 54-31 lead. The gap continued to grow and reached the 30s before Ramat Gan made it a little less bitter in the last quarter. Pnini led Hapoel with 27 points and 8 rebounds, Arnold added 16, Timmy Bowers contributed 13 while Yehu Orland and Shason scored 12 each. Bennett David led the losing side with 19. Nahariya was down 6-30 by the end of the first quarter but managed to recover in time. Matan Naor connected a huge clutch shot from long range to make it 79-77 with 20 seconds on the clock, and Nahariya secured the win in the next play. Otis Hill led the winners with 18 points, while Ndudi Ebi led Bnei Hasharon with 27.
It took Maccabi 20 minutes to find its feet, but thanks to a third-quarter run, the Israeli champs ended up with a 94-81 win over Rishon. Maccabi took a 15-3 lead early in the game, but Rishon didn't give up. Maccabi missed too many long range shots, saw Cummings commit a technical foul after a turnover and despite a good start, Rishon led 22-24 after one quarter. Maccabi continued to look confused, and hit the break down 40-41, but coming out of the locker rooms, it was much different. Vujcic fed his teammates with big passes. Fizer made the most of them as Maccabi took a 62-48 lead. Rishon still narrowed the gap to 6 during the last quarter, but Fizer and Eliyahu turned it into a double-digit game again on the way to the win. Fizer finished as the top scorer with 22 points, Bluthenthal added 17, Cummings 15 and Sharp 10. Juan Mendez led the losing side with 22 points. Galil Elyon came close, but lost 89-85 to Gilboa/Afula. Galil didn't start well and saw Gilboa/Afula take a double-digit lead already in the first quarter. Gilboa/Afula dominated the paint and with big alley-hoops and dunks led 49-36 at half time. Youngster Yogev Ohayon carried Galil on his back in the third quarter, when his team made a big comeback. He scored 7 points in a row to close the third quarter and make it 61-62. Gilboa/Afula woke up in time and started the fourth with a 12-0 run. Galil made one last effort before the buzzer but failed and lost by 4. Awojobi scored 19 with 8 rebounds for the winners. Galil got 23 points from Ohayon in addition to 7 steals and 7 assists. Clif Brown added 24 and Mike Campbell scored 20.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Yarone Arbel, Jerusalem
Euroleague / ULEB Cup teams
Hapoel Galil Elyon
Israeli League Archive
SEB BALTIC LEAGUE