In the Championship game of the Red & Doctor Murray’s Israel Basketball League, top-seed Ellkay completed their undefeated dream season with a resounding 67-54 victory over Old Spice, to take home the Red Auerbach Championship Trophy. Ellkay’s statement win came after a closely contested Final Four weekend, with buzzer-beaters deciding both semifinals.
Ellkay’s Simcha Halpert and Daniel Tzion led the scoring. Halpert’s long-range sharp-shooting made him nearly automatic, while Tzion’s height, wingspan, and dribbling skills made him virtually unstoppable, as he shot over and around the swarming Old Spice defenders. Indeed, Tzion had made the last-second game-winning floater in overtime of the semifinals look almost routine, even while weaving past at least three defenders with time about to expire.
Ellkay’s attack was complemented by their own version of the “twin towers.” While Adam Liberman filled the role of monster rebounder and post-up shooter, co-captain Dani Katz was the inside-out threat, punishing teams down low, then popping out for backbreaking threes. Such was the case in the semis, when Katz saved Ellkay at the end of regulation.
Tyler Hod, the other co-captain, used speed and smarts at the point guard position, leading Ellkay out to a big lead, and pushing the pace to never let up.
For Old Spice, Jason Allen played big, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Guy Ben-Hanan added 12 points. Old Spice adjusted well after Ellkay’s 7-0 opening run, with Sander Eizen and Sam Kalnitz forcing difficult shots for even Ellkay’s best offensive threats.
But Benni Tuchman, Moshe Cohen, Jon Greenberg provided all the backup needed for Ellkay. Tuchman drove the lane for points and big boards, Greenberg used athleticism and a big first step to repeatedly get to the rim, and Cohen’s lock-down defense and timely treys kept the game well in hand.
Trailing by 12 at half, Old Spice made a push after the intermission, getting as close as a half-dozen, but could never complete the come-back, as Ellkay’s tremendously skilled players kept Old Spice at bay. With a few seconds still remaining, the Old Spice players congratulated the new champs, and fans rushed the court to celebrate Ellkay’s perfect season.
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