To be continued
Lior Klinger ,01/02/2006
What do you get when two good teams who are trying to work in new players meet up after a week off? Chaos in one word, a lot of bodies on the floor, turnovers and missed shots all in one big drama. Despite another bad day for Shameka Christon Raanana Hertzeliya got a 66 – 61 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv in game 1 of the Israeli Cup 1/4 finals.
Raanana Hertzeliya 66 – Hapoel Tel Aviv
A quick reminder before we begin, the cup is a separate tournament from the league and the 1/4 final stage is played in a 2-game format in which the team with the better aggregate score advances.
“I’m positive we will advance on Thursday. We were better today and should have won, we made some mistakes down the stretch. A five point deficit is pretty good for us, I believe at home we could do it,” that’s how Roe Izenberg sounded after the game. “This is only the first half, a 5-point game, we’re traveling to Usishkin and I expect a close game there as well between two tough teams who are worthy of being in the semi finals” said Tal Natan. He didn’t elaborate on his team’s performance tonight, and you can’t really blame him. “This win means a lot to us since it got us out of a losing streak, the W is what mattered most tonight and not so much the way we played, but we’re not going to give up on the cup easily” he added.
Those who were at the game during the first half would not want to read about it, and for those who were lucky enough to miss it all you really need to know is that Hapoel led 26-25. The teams were expected to be rusty after the break but there’s rusty and then there’s this. Still, if you really must know…
Rada Vidovic’s trey put a stop to the point per minute pace we had going and made it 9-5 in favor of Hapoel after six minutes. Tal Salz came off the bench and helped Raanana Hertzeliya gain a 12-11 lead after 1. Raanana raced to a 21-12 lead four minutes into the 2nd quarter with an ‘and 1’ from Troina, a driving layup from Sharp and a fastbreak bucket from Salz. On the visitors end nothing seemed to be working but Walker finally got the ball to roll in and the refs approved a 3-pt play for Canty which probably wouldn’t even fly in the NBA. Salz 7th point of the half helped Raanana Hertzeliya stay in front a bit longer before Andrea Gradner with a jumper made it 26-25 in favor of Hapoel.
The game stayed close & messy in the 3rd. The refs nearly let Gardner inbound for Raanana, waived off a 3-pt play for Sharp even though it was much more legit than Canty’s play in the first half and kept calling travels like there’s no tomorrow. The scoreboard meanwhile showed 30-29 for Hapoel, after Christon made two from the line to get her first points of the game. Christon got her only field goal of the game from 3pt range to break a 37 all tie and Coker scored on the break but Vidovic answered with five points that cut Raanana Hertzeliya’s lead to 45-43 after 3.
Canty made 2 free throws, her only points of the 2nd half, and dished an assist to Walker who put Hapoel back on top, 49-47. Raanana Hertzeliya turned it over again trying to pass inside but Vidovic missed a 3 and Sharp connected from long distance to make it 50-49. Walker & Gardner wouldn’t let Raanana Hertzeliya make a run as Sharp & Christon were both trying to out do each other in the turnovers department. Sarit Arbel with a key jumper and Troina with Raanana Hertzeliya’s 3rd trey of the final quarter (out of 5 in the entire game) suddenly made it 62 – 56. Raanana Hertzeliya barely had time to glance at the scoreboard before turning the ball over twice more and watching Walker erase the lead, 62-61 with 2:35 to play. Hapoel did not score the rest of the way, Sharp increased the lead with a layup and two free throws and Christon missed a 3 at the buzzer.
“Our shooting percentages tell the story,” said Izenberg at the end. “We missed so many layups, but the posts played well today while the backcourt was off.” Regarding Ayana Walker, who was 3 for 10 in the first half and 8 for 8 in the 2nd, he said “that’s Ayana, we take the good with the bad. One moment she could miss under the basket but she’d take the rebound or make a good play defensively”. Hapoel’s new post, Gardner, had a decent game with 18 points and also got Coker in foul trouble for the first time this season.
“She will show up, and a lot of people would have to apologize when that happens, I guarantee it” said Natan in response to the when will the real Shameka please show up question. “I’m waiting too” laughed Christon when asked the same question, and continued: “my thing is right now to stay positive cause I know what I’m capable of. Just try to do the little things and the offense will come. It was kinda hard to get it going tonight, in the two days I was here before the break we were trying to find our groove but I’m glad we pulled it out today.” About the 5 point margin going into Thursday’s game, she said “we will keep that in mind but we just have to go out there and play hard, that’s all you can ask for”
For Raanana Hertzeliya:
Monique Coker 17 pts, 15 rebs
K.B Sharp 16 pts, 5 assts, 6 Tos
Tatyana Troina 10 pts
Tal Salz 9 pts
Shameka Christon 6 pts, 6 Tos
Sarit Arbel 4 pts
Hila Izhar & Yael Cherkov 2 pts each
Ayana Walker 24 pts, 14 rebs
Andrea Gardner 18 pts
Dominique Canty 10 pts
Rada Vidovic 8 pts
Michal Epstein 1 pt
This is Bunny.
Copy Bunny into your signature
to help him on his way to world Domination