By Amy Samin
For the fortieth time since the club's inception, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv has claimed the Israeli Cup after defeating Maccabi Bazan Haifa 76-68. Ricky Hickman led Maccabi's scorers with 15 points, while Devin Smith (13 points) was named game MVP. Yogev Ohayon added 12 points and Guy Pnini scored 10 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Devin Smith, Shawn James, Guy Pnini, Yogev Ohayon and Ricky Hickman. Although Haifa scored first Maccabi quickly jumped to an 11-4 lead thanks to a dunk by Hickman and three pointers by Hickman, Smith and Pnini. Haifa stayed close, though, thanks mostly to points by Gal Mekel; just before the halfway mark the score was 15-10 Maccabi. Sylven Landesberg added a bucket and one, while Hickman and Ohayon scored from downtown to make it 23-15 with a little over two minutes left in the quarter. The period ended with Maccabi leading 25-18.
Points by Nik Caner-Medley and Moran Roth gave Maccabi a double digit lead, 29-18 early in the second quarter. Landesberg, James, Ohayon and Smith all added points to make it 39-26 with three minutes left in the half. James also contributed at the other end with strong defense and a blocked shot. Pnini delivered another triple off a dime from Ohayon and the half ended with Maccabi leading 42-31.
The third quarter got underway with points from Hickman and another great block by James, but Haifa battled their way back to 46-43 with four minutes left in the period. Things continued to go Haifa's way as they closed to within one, 49-48 despite a trey by David Logan. Logan added another three pointer to give Maccabi a little breathing room, and the period ended with Maccabi leading 52-48.
Logan continued to score from downtown at the start of the fourth quarter, but Haifa scrapped their way to a 55-all tie after two minutes of action. It wasn't much longer before Haifa took the lead, 61-57. James slammed in a two-handed dunk and Smith drained a long two to tie the score at 61 with just under six minutes left on the clock. A free throw by Ohayon and a steal by Logan gave Maccabi a boost, and Smith's three didn't hurt either; 66-61 Maccabi with 3:11 on the clock. A dunk by James with a minute left made it 69-63. Haifa kept trying to narrow the gap, but in the end Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv brought home its 40th Israeli Cup after defeating Maccabi Bazan Haifa 76-68.
Maccabi: Hickman 15 points; Smith 13 points; Ohayon 12 points; Pnini 10 points; Logan 9 points; James 6 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks; Landesberg 6 points; Roth 5 points; Caner-Medley 2 points.