By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv fought hard but fell to Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Winner Sal League Cup final, 81-78. Sylven Landsberg (11 rebounds) and Guy Pnini scored 20 points each.
Starters for Maccabi were Guy Pnini, Brian Randle, Sylven Landesberg, Alex Tyus, and Jeremy Pargo. The start of the game was balanced, with Hapoel leading 11-10 halfway through the first quarter after a three pointer by Pnini. Jerusalem's Jones made things difficult for Maccabi in the paint, causing Goodes to call a time out with his team down by six. Free throws by Pnini and points from downtown by Landesberg (assist Pargo) cut Maccabi's deficit to one, but Hapoel responded at the other end, and the quarter ended with the score 27-23 to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem continued to play well as the second quarter started, but five three pointers from Pnini, Nate Linhart (3 in a row!) and Pargo put Maccabi within three halfway through the period, 41-38. Hapoel, led by Wright, dominated the last minutes of the half, and the teams went into the break with Maccabi trailing 54-49.
The third quarter got underway with a great dish from Pargo to Pnini on the right wing for three, then continued with four points by Tyus that tied the score at 56 after two minutes. Jerusalem stayed close, but Maccabi took a 61-58 lead thanks to a layup by Pargo and more points from downtown by Landesberg. Hapoel reclaimed the lead in the second half of the period, but Haynes and Pnini tied the score at 66 with thirty seconds on the clock. The period ended with points by Kitchen at the buzzer that put Jerusalem on top once again, 68-66.
Hapoel scored five straight points to open up a 73-66 lead in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, as Randle fouled out. A dunk by Tyus put Maccabi on the scoreboard three minutes into the period, but Jerusalem continued to protect their lead. A bucket and one by Landesberg and a layup by Pnini on the inbounds made it 77-74 as Maccabi battled to close the gap, but in the end Hapoel Jerusalem won the game 81-78.