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Triumphant Ness Ziona lifts FIBA Europe Cup

CM 26/04/2021

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Captain Tal Dunne hoisted the European Championship Trophy into the air in front of over 4,000 fans as he was mobbed by teammates and staff to celebrate the club’s first-ever continental title.
Brad Greenberg’s team controlled the first half with strong play by Patrick Miller, Jerome Meyinsse and Braian Angola, but Stal came storming back in the third quarter – scoring 30 points thanks to Jakub Garbacz’s sharpshooting – and took a 65-59 lead.
However, huge baskets by Nimrod Levi and Lior Carreira in the final frame along with stifling defense shut the Polish squad down as the Israeli squad took the championship.
Levi and Angola each scored 15 points, Meyinsse added 14 points and 11 rebounds while Wayne Selden scored 11 points and Carreira chipped in with 10 points in the victory.

Garbacz led Stal with 19 points as George Kell and Denzel Andersson each added 12 points in the defeat.
“We had a strong start but we really struggled in the third,” Greenberg explained following the game. “The defensive effort and the five guys on the court at the end was the key for us. These guys turned the city of Ness Ziona on and the country as well. I’m proud of them.”
Selden, who was named the Final Four MVP, also reflected on the victory.
“It’s great feeling and it’s great to be out there and compete. I’m blessed that the team and coach gave me a chance to play. We had some turmoil, but getting to the top of the mountain feels great.”
Ness Ziona had advanced to the title game after nipping VTB team Parma 81-80 on a game-winning three-pointer by former NBA swingman Selden. With strong performances in Friday’s semifinal by Dunne, who played with a hand injury while also sustaining a head laceration during the course of play, to terrific games by Levi and Miller, Greenberg’s squad was primed and ready to go in the final.
Its foe, Arged BM Slam Stal, punched its ticket to the championship clash with a 77-66 win over Oradea as George Kell and Denzel Andersson led the way for the Polish squad. Ness Ziona’s only blemish during the course of its European campaign was inflicted by the same club during group play in January and it looked to avenge the loss.
Ness Ziona got off to a hot start as Dunne sent a perfect outlet pass to Meyinsse, who slammed the ball home, Angola drilled a corner triple but Stal’s Garbacz matched him at the other end of the floor as the hosts held a 9-7 lead midway through the first quarter.
Selden nailed a corner three-pointer, but Andersson went to work for the visitors while Garbacz also went from downtown, however, Meyinsse scored on the inside and Carreira found points from the outside to end the frame up 26-22.
Levi filled the basket early in the second quarter for Greenberg’s team and Selden added points, but Kell and Mark Ogden answered for Stal as Ness Ziona stayed in front 36-30.
Meyinsse and Miller scored in the paint, Andersson and Kell answered at the other end, but Ness Ziona took a 42-35 advantage into halftime.
Garbacz got the third quarter underway with a pair of three-pointers, but Angola immediately matched him shot for shot and added a third triple for good measure to keep Ness Ziona ahead 51-43 midway through the period.
Garbacz wouldn’t be outdone, however, and hit two more from long distance, Andersson and Chris Smith answered for Stal to give it a lead as Selden and Meyinsse tried to keep the hosts close, trailing 65-59.
Levi opened the fourth quarter with a layup and hit a pair of free throws while Carreira added a deuce to tie the game at 65 with 8:02 remaining in regulation, forcing Stal’s coach Igor Milicic to call timeout.
Carreira scored a pair of baskets in the paint, Levi drilled home a triple, but Florence did the same at the other end.
However, Levi wouldn’t be denied as he added another bucket in the paint and Selden scored a layup to put the finishing touches on Ness Ziona’s first European title.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv just got by a feisty Maccabi Haifa 82-78 in league action to get back onto the winning track after falling to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil last week.
The last-place Carmel Greens gave the yellow-and-blue everything that it could handle as Chris Dowe (20 points), Kalin Lucas (17 points) and Roman Sorkin (15 points and 12 rebounds) dominated the defending champion at times throughout the 40 minutes.
But Scottie Wilbekin (11 points) hit a timely triple while Yovel Zoosman (11 points, eight rebounds) and Angelo Caloiaro (19 points) played crucial roles to help notch the road victory.
“It was an important win and it wasn’t easy, but a win is a win,” said Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos. “The small details at the end were important for the win. Wit was important with his defense and he will get better and better as we continue.”
Caloiaro also spoke about Yovel Zoosman’s return.
“Zoos has been out for a while and he’s just getting into the rhythm. He was great tonight and that’s what we expect, that is what we expect, that’s the player he is and he’s only going to get better. He is still so young, great guy.”
Down south, Hapoel Beersheba outlasted Hapoel Eilat 93-88 in the desert capital to record the surprise win over one of the best team’s in the league this season.
The hosts came out strong with a 28-17 first quarter, but the Red Sea squad came storming back to go into halftime down by just five points.
However, Rami Hadar’s team saw Spencer Weisz drop seven three-pointers while Caleb Agada did a little bit of everything on the court to secure the win. Agada scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out six assists and picked up five steals, Weisz finished the game with 21 points, while Eric Griffin added 17 points in the victory.
Casey Prather led Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad with 28 points and Josh Nebo scored 15 points and took 11 rebounds in the loss.
Also, Hapoel Holon clipped Bnei Herzliya 90-85 as Tyrus McGee once again starred for Stefanos Dedas’s crew. Sharon Drucker’s team took a 45-40 lead into halftime, but Holon turned on the offense in the third quarter to notch the win.
McGee scored 28 points, CJ Harris added 14 points and Maxim De Zeeuw chipped in with 13 points in the win. Coty Clarke flirted with a triple-double as he led the way for Herzliya with 24 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in the defeat.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Haifa got back onto the winning track with a 80-71 road win at Hapoel Tel Aviv as Elad Hasin’s club controlled the contest from the outset to take the win.
Keenan Evans led the way for the Carmel Reds with 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Lennard Freeman added 15 points and 13 rebounds while Amit Simhon and Rakeem Buckles each scored 12 points in the win.
Tel Aviv’s Justin Tillman led all scorers with 29 points as Yam Madar, Reggie Upshaw and JP Tokoto all scored 10 points apiece in the loss.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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