Ashdod shocks Raanana Hertzelia
Orli Klinger ,12/12/2005
Maccabi Ashdod, who lost their first five games, handed Raanana Hertzelia their 2nd loss of the season tonight with a bug 80 – 70 win.
Maccabi Ashdod 80 – Bnot Raanana Hertzelia 70
Maccabi Ashdod turned it over no less than 31 times, an outrageous number by all means, but showed that if you shoot 61.1% from downtown and get back on defense, you can still score 80 on the league’s best defensive team. “They’re a very good team, only lost a close one at Ramat Hasharon, but even though we had a lot of turnovers we were still in control”, said Alexandra Music after the game. “Plus we stopped them on 70 points, we usually allow 90”.
“We want to make the top six”, said the happy Tal Arie at the end. “There are five very good teams in the league and we wanna be the sixth”, he declared. “I wasn’t calm till there were 10 seconds to play after all the leads we blew in the other games”.
Ashdod started well and took a 12 – 4 lead as Brandi McCain and Bat El Lazmi hit threes, and Music & Lovelace scored from inside. They could’ve been up more had they turned it over just a little less, or if Gortman managed to score any points off her three consecutive offensive boards. Raanana Hertzelia got its defense together and got back into it, as Chelsea Newton scored on a fast break to stop the local run. Raanana Hertzelia ran everything through Monique Coker but Newton with two jumpers and Sharp with a three scored to carry the visitors on a 15 – 4 run to close the quarter up 19 –16.
Ashdod regained the lead with a three from McCain and five points from Lovelace, 24 – 21 two minutes in. Ashdod switched to a zone defense but Raanana Hertzelia broke it down with two easy layups by Troina to give them the lead back. Ashdod kept attacking and went up 33 – 30 to send Tal Natan to the scorer’s table for a timeout with 4:30 to go in the half. K.B Sharp with two assists and a steal gave her team the lead back, but the see-saw game continued and Ashdod led 40 – 38 at the half.
The locals made five of eight threes, behind leading scorer Stacey Lovelace Tolbert with 14 points. The most interesting stat was that Ashdod had missed just 10 shots in the half, and had eight offensive rebounds. On the other end, for players scored 8 for the visitors.
Ashdod kept shooting the lights out in the 3rd, and went up 45 – 39 with a McCain fast break and a Lovelace three. Coker & Sharp cut it to 43 – 45, but Lazmi answered with a three. Things remained close as McCain and Salz hit threes, 51 – 50 with under six to go in the 3rd, but Ashdod pulled away. A quick 10-0 run made it a 61 – 52 game with 3:40 to play in the quarter.
Raanana Hertzelia came back from a timeout with an aggressive man-to-man defense and automatic switches, and it worked well despite Gortman’s awesome baseline drive right after the timeout. Sharp cut it to single digits again with a fast break layup, and Raanana Hertzelia held Ashdod scoreless in the remainder of the quarter. Coker’s three with five seconds to go made it just 57 – 63 after three.
McCain hit a three to signal that Ashdod’s three point shooting percentage had no intentions of coming down, and the calls for a 4th personal on Troina & Arbel didn’t help the visitors. Music with free throws, great hustle for the offensive board and an assist to McCain helped the locals go up 74 – 59 with under six minutes to go. “That’s my job”, said Soni Music who spent most of the game hitting the floor. “Don’t try this at home”.
In the following two minutes Raanana Hertzelia had about seven shot attempts but none of them dropped, and you could see the frustration as Coker launched a three from 2 feet outside the arc with 23 seconds on the shot clock.
Ashdod was getting a bit passive and started begging the game clock to hurry up, but Music somehow got to the line to make it 76 – 59 with under four to go. There was still a lot of time left and Tal Natan tried to wake his team up with timeouts, and he eventually did just that.
Raanana Hertzelia turned it up a notch defensively and started pressing. They got five steals in 90 seconds and cut it to 66 – 76 with 1:35 to go. Things could’ve gotten even more interesting had either Troina or Zairy hit their threes in the next two possessions, but they missed and Ashdod began celebrating.
“I’m happy we pulled it out at the end, I hope we learned something from those games. I was kinda nervous at the end a little bit, I thought it was gonna be another one of those games but I think we had a big enough lead to hold it off”, said Brandi McCain who scored 25 points but also had 11 turnovers vs. Sharp & Newton’s pressure. “I’m drained after the game, they really did a good job denying me the ball. In the first half I played really fast so I had to calm myself down in the 2nd. I think they did a very good job”, she added.
Despite the credit from McCain, K.B Sharp was not comforted. She didn’t even believe McCain had 11 turnovers. “We didn’t show up to play today I think. They were getting every losse ball, every rebound, everything was going their way”, said Sharp. “I just don’t feel like we were here today”.
“Lots of complement to Ashdod. They played fantastic and shot extremely well”, summed up Tal Natan. “It was our worst game yet, offensively and defensively. We were really soft on the defensive glass”, he continued. “But we gave a great first round and this just proves every game is a big game. I knew this was a land mine. Give Ashdod all the credit”.
Brandi McCain 25 pts, 6 ast, 11 Tos
Stacey Lovelace Tolbert 22 pts, 15 rebs, 9 Tos
Alexandra Music 14 pts, 9 rebs
Shaun Gortman 10 pts, 10 rebs
Bat El Lazmi 6 pts
Inbar Vaksman 3 pts
For Raanana Hertzelia:
Monique Coker 21 pts, 8 rebs, 5 stl, 6 Tos
K.B Sharp 15 pts
Chelsea Newton 14 pts, 5 stl
Tatyana Troina 8 pts, 7 rebs
Hila Izhar 4 pts
Shiran Zairy & Tal Salz 3 pts each
Sarit Arbel 2 pts
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