Jia Perkins provided the heroics for Ramat Hasharon last night, but Tanisha Wright had the last laugh as Elitzur Ramle eked out a 60-59 win on its final possession and advanced to the Premier League finals. Ramle won the semifinal series 3-1.
Ramle will face first-place Maccabi Ashdod, which swept Habikaa in their best-of-five semifinal series.
With 23.2 seconds left on the clock in Ramle yesterday, Perkins buried an amazing halfcourt shot to give Ramat Hasharon a 59-58 lead.
Wright made an errant pass, which in the mixup ended up in the hands of Ramle center Amber Harris. She fired off a shot but missed only to rebound and miss again. The ball got tied up and on the jump ball rule possession went over to Ramat Hasharon with only five ticks to go in the game.
"I thought the game was over," Ramle coach Adan Inbar said after the game.
But his star player thought otherwise. Wright stole the inbound pass by Alisha Clark and bolted down the court. "There's always a hesitation whether to call a time out to inbound the ball, but that is what coaches do," said Ramat Hasharon coach Orna Ostfeld. "We failed in getting the ball in."
Perkins caught up to Wright in time to block her, knocking the ball out of bounds. Ramle got the ball back with 2.5 seconds under Ramat Hasharon's basket. Ramle point guard Laine Selwyn found an open Wright, who sunk her shot with 1.5 seconds to go to give Ramle the 60-59 lead. Her winning shot also settled a personal duel with Perkins, with Wright outscoring the Ramat Hasharon star 91-89 during the series.
"There's a lot of luck in life," added Inbar. "Great players don't need coaches to make such plays."
Ramat Hasharon had looked to keep up the trend of the visiting team winning every game of the series, taking an early 8-2 lead. However, Ramle pared the lead down to two points by the end of the first quarter.
Alana Beard tied the game at 20-all to start the second, and Harris gave Ramle the lead, which it held through the end of the first half at 32-28.
The second half was more topsy-turvy. Ramat Hasharon went back on top in the third quarter, only to fall behind again early in the fourth. The visitors then used a seven-point run to go up 48-42 before Ramle went on a seven-point run of its own to lead 49-48. The lead switched twice more before Perkins gave her team its final edge of the game, which Wright erased.
Steve Klein contributed to this report.
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