In the Championship game of the Red & Doctor Murray's Israel Basketball League, top-seed Ellkay completed their undefeated dream season with a resounding 67-54 victory over Old Spice, to take home the Red Auerbach Championship Trophy. Ellkay's statement win came after a Final Four weekend the couldn't have been closer, as buzzer-beaters in both semifinals had the crowd near pandemonium.
Ellkay's Simcha Halpert and Daniel Tzion led the scoring. Halpert's long-range sharp-shooting made him nearly automatic, while Tzion's height, wingspan, and dribbling skills made him virtually unstoppable, as he shot over and around the swarming Old Spice defenders. Indeed, Tzion had made the last-second game-winning floater in overtime of the semi-finals look almost routine, even while weaving past at least three defenders with time about to expire.
Ellkay's attack was complemented by their own version of the "twin towers". In the Ellkay iteration, Adam Liberman filled the role of monster rebounder and post-up shooter. Meanwhile, co-captain Dani Katz was the inside-out threat, punishing teams down low, then popping out for back-breaking threes, as he did to save Ellkay at the end of regulation in the semis.
Tyler Hod, the other co-captain, used speed and smarts at the point guard position, leading Ellkay out to a big lead, and pushing the pace to never let up.
For Old Spice, Jason Allen played big, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Guy Ben-Hanan added 12 points. Old Spice adjusted well after Ellkay's 7-0 opening run, with Sander Eizen and Sam Kalnitz forcing difficult shots for even Ellkay's best offensive threats.
But Benni Tuchman, Moshe Cohen, Jon Greenberg provided all the back-up needed for Ellkay. Tuchman drove the lane for points and big boards, Greenberg used athleticism and a big first step to repeatedly get to the rim, and Cohen's lock-down defense and timely treys kept the game well in hand.
Trailing by 12 at half, Old spice made a push after the intermission, getting as close as a half-dozen, but could never complete the come-back, as Ellkay's tremendously skilled players kept Old Spice at bay. With a few seconds still remaining, the Old Spice players congratulated the new champs, and fans rushed the court to celebrate Ellkay's perfect season.
The stage is set for this year's Red Auerbach Championship Trophy title game, and emotions are at a fever pitch, after both Semifinal games saw buzzer-beater finishes!
The Teir I semifinal games were ones for the history books.
Top-seeded Ellkay defeated the Nesharim in exciting fashion. The game was a seesaw with no team able to pull away, as the lead seemed to change hands every minute. With under a minute left, Nesharim was able to put together back to back baskets, to take a 3 point lead.
Things looked desperate for Ellkay when the Nesharim came up with a loose ball, and well beyond desperate when, looking to foul or get a steal, they allowed the Nesharim to find the open man for a fast-break and the potential dagger!
After defending the fast-break with little more than a prayer, Ellkay's Tyler Hod raced up the court and got the ball to Captain Dani Katz, in heavy traffic at the three-point line. The Nesharim defenders, aware of Katz's sharpshooting skills, fouled hard in an effort to prevent any shot, but Katz somehow got the ball airborne - and hit the three with one second remaining!
With the raucous crowd in disbelief, Katz went to the line to try and end the game in regulation, but could not convert, and the game went into overtime.
The OT was just as close, with Ellkay taking a four point lead, and Nesharim fighting back and tying the score with 5 seconds left. But Ellkay's Daniel Tzion used a beautiful crossover, and hit a floater just as time expired, to secure the 46-44 victory.
The next semifinal game pitted the ever dangerous Tzionim against the newcomers Old Spice. The game was tight from the beginning, with Tzionim making a small run at the end of the first half, to open up a nine-point lead, behind Shua Zakitinsky’s shooting.
Old Spice then switched to a zone defense, which proved effective, eventually taking a lead on a 3-pointer by Sander Eizen. However, the Tzionim weren’t done, and were able to tie the game with under a minute left.
A jump shot off a screen at the top of the key by Dovid Oratz gave Old spice a 2-point lead with 10 seconds left. With two fouls to give, Old Spice tried to burn the clock - but they mistakenly fouled on a shot attempt, sending marksman Elisha Edelman to the line, with 1 second left!
After Edelman tied the game, Old Spice used their final timeout, to design a play from half-court. Using a double screen, Oratz caught the in-bounding pass while heading deep into the corner, and quickly flung the ball one-handed towards the basket. As the whistle sounded, the ball kissed the backboard and dropped in, to give Old Spice the 47-44 win in regulation!
Old Spice will face the undefeated Ellkay in the championship this Saturday night, with tip-off scheduled for 10 p.m., at the Denmark Gym.
In Teir II, the top seeded Vince’s Peanuts played the #5 Vita Healthcare, and it was a close game the whole way through.
Vita Healthcare Group came out strong and had the lead early in the game, but great unselfish play from Captain Mordy Sheinbein brought Vince’s Peanuts back in the game, with a 2 point lead at half.
The second half saw Vince’s Peanuts playing lock down defense, and they were able to secure a 53-49 victory, to advance to the Teir II championship.
The other Tier II semifinal game showcased the #3 Lobos and t#7 Let’s Dance. The Lobos came out aggressive, and were in control for most of the game. Let’s Dance put together a valiant run toward the end, and came within a deuce, but the Lobos converted on clutch free throws and were able to hold off the challenge, for a 44-38 final tally, and a ticket to the Teir II championship, where they will face Vince’s Peanuts.
Playoffs in The Red and Doctor Murray's Israel Basketball League have begun, and all roads lead to the coveted Red Auerbach Championship Trophy.
In Tier I, all four top seeds advanced to the Semifinals.
Top seeded Ellkay continued to dominate on both offense and defense, showing the league why they’re the 1st seed, with a 51-36 defeat of Eved.
KBKB, who ended their season on a hot streak and made the 5th seed, took on Neshraim, the 4th seed. The game was physical and tight all the way, until Neshraim went on a small run down the stretch, and was able to convert on foul shots to stretch the final margin to 50-40. Nesharim secured their ticket to the semi’s, where they’ll face the ever ferocious Ellkay.
On the other side of the bracket, #3 Old Spice was matched up against #6 Lochamim. Aryeh Sunshine's sharpshooting skills, and the board control of Sam Kalnitz and Jason Allen, fueled an Old Spice victory, 54-45.
The last of the quarterfinals games saw #2 Tzionim, no stranger to the Teir I playoffs, face #7 Tarheels. The Tarheels put up a tremendous fight, rallying again and again, and looked set to complete a comeback with a push in the waning minutes. But the last Tzionim counterattack proved too much, and with a final score of 46-38, Tzionim advanced to face Old Spice in the Semi’s.
In Teir II, R.J.L. legends were going for the rare "8th seed upset", and indeed had the game was tied at halftime. But Vince’s Peanuts opened the second half on an 8-0 run and never looked back, winning 45-37.
Not to be outdone, the second-biggest underdog, 7th-seeded Let’s Dance, pulled off an upset of dramatic proportions, defeating the second seed, Lev Trap House.
Meanwhile, #5 Vita Healthcare Group defeated #4 Shade Control 43-31. And the Lobos advanced as well, defeating OurCrowd 49-21.
Vita Healthcare Group will face Vince’s Peanuts in the Semi’s, while the Lobos now face Let’s Dance.
With the regular season heading down the home stretch in the Red and Doctor Murray's Israel Basketball League, KBKB knocked Old Spice off their undefeated perch, leaving Tzionim and Ellkay as the last remaining undefeated teams. KBKB's a commanding 50-34 win over their previously perfect opponents served notice around the league that KBKB is a serious contender.
KBKB came out firing, and was up by 17 at the intermission. A second-half Old Spice rally brought it within 7, but a quick "and-1" by Kevin Boker pushed the lead back to double digits, which KBKB maintained until the end.
In other games, the Lobos notched their second straight win, defeating Shade Control 44-32, Eved showed great defense and a balanced attack, to defeat Let’’s Dance 40-25, while the Tzionim defeated Lev Trap House to remain undefeated at the top of the standings.
The Red and Doctor Murray's Israel Basketball League passed the midway point, with some teams still undefeated and others fighting for a spot in the tier one playoffs.
Team Ellkay stands undefeated at 5-0, defeating Lev Trap House 68-50. Ellkay has defeated each team they have faced by double digits, and at this point look to be 'the team to beat'.
Two other teams remain undefeated, together with Ellkay. Old Spice are tied for first at 5-0, after a 67-43 victory over Lochamim.
The Tzionim, also undefeated and just half a game out of first after taking a bye, look to add to their 4-0 record this week.
Nesharim edged KBKB 67-62 with a big run late in the 4th quarter to notch their 4th win, and position themselves for a playoff run. Meanwhile, Vita Healthcare Group earned a 41-30 victory over OurCrowd, and the Lobos defeated R.J.L. Legends 48-33.
The Tzionim returned this year with a revamped crew, and opened their season with 47-29 win over Team Young. The 1st half was a close match, but the Tzionim went on a 17-2 run to start the second half and never looked back. Mordy Rudinsky of the Tzionim led all scorers with 25 points while Elisha Addelman added 14.
New teams, Old Spice and Vita Healthcare Group started their season Thursday night, with Old Spice leading a balanced attack with multiple players scoring in double digits en route to a 59-31 victory.
Newcomers the Wolfpack, took care of the returning Vince's Peanuts 39-33.
Lev Trap House played Eved, and it was a very close game to the end, with many lead changes throughout the game. Eved's Elazar Kolom (20 points) and Gidon Neuman (15 pts) kept Eved in the game. However, Lev's athletic ability and monster rebounding from their big men was too much for Eved, as Lev defeated them 58-50.
Ellkay came into their game wanting to show the league that they're in it to win it, with a commanding 71-24 win over Shade Control. Ellkay was led by Simcha Halpert (21) and Jon Greenberg (15)
Nesharim jumped out to a 13-2 lead and although R.J.L. Legends brought it within 9, they were unable to complete the comeback, with Nesharim defeating R.J.L. Legends 54-31. Nesharim was led by Jon Granowitz with 17 pts (three 3's) and R.J.L. was led by Mordy Reisman (17 pts)
As more teams join the league, Everyone is wondering: Who will be the next Champion?
For info, email firstname.lastname@example.org , or contact the league commissioners:
Yair Smith - 052-286-0076
Dovi Rabinowitz - 050-757-4185 , or at Kraft most Fridays and Saturday nights.