The playoffs got underway in the Red & Doctor Murray’s Israel Basketball League as the chase heated up for the coveted Red Auerbach Championship.
In Tier One, the top four teams all advanced to the semifinals, setting up great semifinals match-ups. Top seed Tzionim took care of business, defeating Jerry’s Kids, 50-29. Tzionim will face the fourth seed, Garden Rigs, who had a tougher time against the Beanbags. The underdogs led by five at the half, but Garden Rigs came back from the locker rooms firing, with a 19-3 run to start the second half, and nailing down a 56-44 final.
Third seed Ashreinu overcame sixth seed Ubuntu with an incredible team effort. Offensively, three separate players scoring in double digits, while defensively Ashreinu did enough to slow down the Ubuntu attack, earning the 48-39 victory.
The second seed, Beitar Yerushalayim, has perhaps the toughest road in the playoff. In the quarterfinals, they took on the always dangerous Lobos, who put up a hard-fought effort behind the valiant Valansky brothers. Judah Cohen and company held on to win 54-50, setting up one of the most anticipated showdowns, as Beitar goes against Ashreinu in the semis. The two teams faced off earlier in the season, with Ashreinu winning by a solitary point at the buzzer.
In Tier Two, top seed Vince’s Peanuts took on T. Liff Deli 5, in what looked destined to be the post-season’s first upset. T. Liff came charging out of the box, scoring eight unanswered points, and still led by six at the half. Vince’s Peanuts chipped away at the score, finally taking their first lead with five minutes remaining in the game. T. Liff still wouldn’t go down quietly, coming within a deuce, but Vince’s Peanuts held on down the stretch to win 44-39.
The second seed, CCJ, also punched their semifinals ticket with a 44-35 win over the 89ers, overcoming 20 points from Menachem “Mini” Solomon, and Feathers of Osedox also advanced, over Lev Aharon. And the long-awaited first upset of the playoffs finally materialized, as Shalavim stunned A.D.I.,56-48, behind the amazing shooting of Dovie Neuburger and Ezra Teichman.