By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has qualified for the Israeli Cup Final after defeating Maccabi Yachad Habonim Ashdod 85-80 at Nokia Arena. Yogev Ohayon led Maccabi's scorers with 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Sylven Landesberg and Nik Caner-Medley contributed 15 and 13 points, respectively. Devin Smith also had a great game, with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Starters for Maccabi were Shawn James, Guy Pnini, Ricky Hickman, Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith. Hickman gave Maccabi a quick 5-2 lead after a minute and a half. Ashdod got back into the game and briefly took the lead, but points by Ohayon, James and Smith soon made it 16-6, Maccabi. The trio continued to rack up points, and with two and a half minutes remaining Maccabi led 24-12. The quarter ended with the score 30-17.
Nik Caner-Medley, Sylven Landesberg (from downtown) and James (dunk) made it 37-20 early in the second quarter. Ashdod closed the gap slightly, but Landesberg drained another trey, and Hickman followed suit off a dime from Smith; Caner-Mdley added a deuce to make it 47-28 Maccabi with just over four minutes on the clock. Ashdod refused to give up, going on a minute-long 9-0 scoring run that closed the gap to ten, 47-37. Maccabi was able to reopen their lead thanks to five straight points from Darko Planinic and a layup by Ohayon, and the half ended with the score 54-41.
Ashdod resumed their battle in the third quarter, first cutting their deficit to single digits, 56-47 after four minutes of action, then continuing to grab rebounds and score baskets until Maccabi's lead was reduced to two points, 60-58 with three minutes left in the period. Points by Caner-Medley from the foul line and Ohayon from downtown and the paint gave Maccabi some breathing room, and the quarter ended with Maccabi leading 67-62.
Caner-Medley and Ohayon continued to contribute in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. Landesberg delivered another three, but Ashdod responded. James dunked a dish from Smith, and Landesberg scored again from downtown to make it 80-73. Ahsdod kept fighting, repeatedly pulling within two before Maccabi reopened the gap. In the end, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Yachad Habonim Ashdod 85-80 and will advance to the Israeli Cup Final on Thursday.
Maccabi: Ohayon 18 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists; Landesberg 15 points (4 of 5 from three point range); Caner-Medley 13 points; James and Hickman 10 points each; Smith 9 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists; Planinic 5 points; Logan 4 points; Pnini 1 point.