The campaign to defend the title began on the right foot. Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Eilat 81:90 tonight (Saturday) in the eighth finals of the National Basketball Cup, a stage to which the incumbent automatically qualified, and thus rose to a quarter. The Southerners finished their way in the factory after defeating Ashkelon in the previous round, but the group from the capital was big on them.
They scored for Jerusalem: Chris Kramer 19 (7 assists), Suleiman Braimo and Tyson Thomas 16 each, Jamil Wilson 14, Tamir Blatt 10 (10 assists), Idan Zalmanson 6 (7 rebounds), Adam Ariel 5, Jacoben Brown 4.
Scored to Eilat: Josh Nibo 22 (9 rebounds, squeezed 10 fouls and contributed 3 blocks), Joseph Ragland and Casey Parter 21 each, Jonathan Schuldbrand 8 each, Merkel Brown 5, Ben Carter and Roi Hoover 2 each.
For the Reds from the capital Jamil Wilson signed up for the squad for the first time, providing a pretty successful debut with three threes and points of momentum. Along with Wilson, Chris Kramer stood out mostly in the first half, and a double-double by Tamir Blatt alongside a good ability from Tyson Thomas and Suleiman Braimo helped the locals in the arena create a solid lead in the second quarter, and keep it until the end.
The visitors tried to come back and even recorded an 8: 0 run including a basket from an entire field by Joseph Ragland on the buzzer of the end of the third quarter, thus almost eliminating a 16-point gap. However, Oded Katash’s team maintained concentration in the last quarter and did not allow Josh Nibo & Co. to stay in the game.
the progress of the game
The first quarter was pretty close throughout, when two threes by Tamir Blatt helped Hapoel Jerusalem to a 2: 5 advantage and then also 13:18. However, Josh Nibo managed to reach double digits already in the first minutes, and he kept Eilat in business and helped her equalize at the end of the first ten minutes, 20:20.
In the second quarter, the Jerusalemites managed to create a slightly more stable advantage for themselves. At first they went up to 22:26, but the Southerners equalized again, and from there Tyson Thomas got into things, which went up to a 13-point balance until the break and helped go up by 6 points. Chris Kramer also took command and raised it to 30:36. Jonathan Schuldbrand shrank, but Thomas alongside Jacoben Brown led to the lead 39:48 At the end of the first half.
The third quarter was largely marked by the hosts’ increase in lead, with Thomas, Kramer and also Suleiman Braimo standing out with a number of good attacks that helped produce a first double-digit lead, 43:55. The gap swelled to 16 points, 50:66, but Eilat’s 8: 0 run towards the buzzer shrank. In this run the guest scored her first three-pointer, and right at the last second Joseph Ragland scored a basket from an entire court, which was eventually approved. 58:66.
At the start of the last quarter more baskets by Braimo and Wilson helped bring the difference back to double digits, 58:70. Eilat players did their best to make voices of another repetition, but on the other side lost concentration and allowed the host to go up to 81:85. Nibo and Regland returned to single digits, but it was not enough at the last minute, and at the end as stated the scoreboard showed 81:90.