Ramla dominated game 3 in Hertzelia and went up 2 – 1 in the finals with a 81 – 69 victory. Ramla played very good team defense and enjoyed great offensive nights by Doron, Snow & Baker and a whole lot of momentum plays that made sure Raanana Hertzelia doesn’t come back.
Game 3 Photo Gallery
Raanana Hertzelia 69 – Elizur Ramla 81
Raanana Hertzelia trailed just 37 – 38 at the half and that didn’t tell the story. Ramla opened a double digit lead in the 3rd and used a 16 – 2 run over the quarter's final 6 minutes to go up 60 – 45. Raanana Hertzelia's pressure and defensive gambles cut the lead to single digits in the 4th, but they got no closer.
Ramla's two leading scorers in game 2 each scored just two points tonight, but that wasn't a problem for Ramla. Truth is there weren't really any problems in Ramla, besides the 4th quarter where Raanana Hertzelia's desperation managed to produce 24 points. Shay Doron scored half her team's points in a big 3rd quarter that opened a 15 point lead, and they knew how to make all the necessary momentum plays to maintain a double digit gap.
Third quarter, four minutes on the clock, just a seven point game. Raanana Hertzelia miss two good threes, Williams tries to go inside, nothing. Other side – Doron burries a shot clock beating three. 10 point game, timeout.
Last possession of the 3rd, Raanana Hertzelia ball, down 13. Sherill Baker steals it with 4 seconds left and takes off for an easy layup. 60 – 45, biggest lead so far.
Fourth quarter, Raanana Hertzelia finally get it under 10 as Wright hits for three, nearly three minutes left. Seconds later – Baker sticks a three, 12 again.
Ramla's winning attitude rubbed off on every last player with all they've been through. 2 – 1, chance to cut the nets on their floor on Thursday. The obvious question would be…
"Don’t ask me if it's over cause you know it isn't, it's going to be the toughest game. Closing them out is even harder than winning at their house", Doron explained immediately. "I think we told ourselves from the start that we're going to make mistakes but we need to stick together no matter what and it worked, we really played like a team today", she added after her team went up 19 or more for the 2nd straight game in this finals-without-a-favorite. "The lead felt good and we needed it too cause we were cold at the end. Sherill made some really tough baskets and that really helped us win, we needed it because we let our fatigue show in the 4th".
"Today we did play our offense, we had good shots but we missed terribly", said Shiki Falah. "On defense we also had problems but even when we got stops we made mistakes on offense, and you can't beat Ramla with 69 points".
Tanisha Wright, who has a very slow night with 7 for 19 shooting despit 20 points, focused more on the defensive end. "I think we missed a lot of shots but there were times especially in the 3rd quarter when we did a lot of things that’s out of character. Bad shots, just stuff that we don’t usually do as a team but also really our offense is not really that big of a deal if you can get stops on defense .Tonight we just didn’t, they scored at will, whenever they wanted they scored a basket. I I think that’s mainly what killed us".
Raanana Hertzelia went inside early and drew three straight fouls to go up 8 – 2. Ramla soon realized calls were easy to get, Baker and Selwyn got to the line, and Abramzon's put back tied the game at 10. Ramla's offense showed a little more than the ability to take advantage of the trigger happy refs with nice assists by Doron and patience against the zone, while Raanana Hertzelia looked bad in the quarter's last minutes with unnecessary threes and turnovers. A basket by dn transition and some weird and weirder calls led us to the end of the quarter which contained 18 free throws with Ramla up 19 – 16.
In the 2nd quarter the refs started letting things go, not every contact drew a call and neither did some actual fouls. Raanana Hertzelia tied the game as Shwartz scored five and Levitsky added a layup, 25 – 25, but that wasn’t Falah's game plan. Ramla continued to control the tempo and went up 39 – 27 with a three point play by Gourevitch, good feeds to Snow and smart defense. Neda Djuric went on a little run of her own to help her team get back within 37 – 38 at the half, but that also didn’t look like the game plan. Wright & Williams' combined 3 or 13 from the floor was pretty good evidence of that.
In the 3rd quarter Ramla removed all doubts as to where this game was headed. Wright kept struggling but had a couple of assists to help keep her team in it early, 43 – 44, but then it was time for Ramla's big run. Ramla outscored the locals 16 – 2 in the quarter's final 6 minutes to open a 60 – 45 lead. Ramla's guards did a good job on the pick and role with Snow, led by Doron who made Raanana Hertzelia pay in full for going under the screen on her. Doron hit a jumper like to spark the run, and added a fast break steal which turned to an easy assist from Baker to Snow on the other end, and that was one of many momentum plays Ramla made. Raanana Hertzelia missed a couple of good looks from deep and then saw Doron nail a shot clock beating three, 55 – 45, late time out by Falah with three left in the 3rd. Following a time out Doron added two more, she had 11 in the quarter, and to wrap things up Baker stole the ball with 4 seconds left and got a layup. 60 – 45 Ramla, 22 – 8 in the 3rd, 16 – 2 run. Ramla was dominating, any way you look at it.
Ramla made it a 19 point game early as Abramzone hit a three and Doron drove for two, 65 – 46. Falah switched to a short lineup and pressure defense, Wright who made 3 of 13 shots in the previous quarters realized it's now or never and helped her team back within 57 – 69. Rabi called a timeout since he saw Raanana Hertzelia missed some open threes that might have made a game out of it, and then came the big momentum breaking plays. Baker with a steal and layup and a painful dagger three. 74 – 62, two minutes to play.
So how about game 4? Will Ramla complete the double or will Raanana Hertzelia show the character that got them out of a 0 – 2 hole in the semis?
Eli Rabi: "This is an important win but we're not done, Raanana Hertzelia won't break".
Shay Doron: "I really hope out ups and downs don’t come on Thursday because that's our biggest game of the season, no time for let downs".
Shiki Falah: "We had our backs against the wall before and we knew how to come back. Even tonight in the final minutes I sat down and the players showed they're not about to give up".
Tanisha Wright: "Our backs are against the wall, lose and we go home. We’ve been in this situation before so the only thing that we can ask from ourselves is to go out and play the hardest that we can play, we’ve won there before so we know that we can win there. We gotta believe that".
Sherill Baker 22 pts
Shay Doron 20 pts
Michelle Snow 18 pts
Ina Gourevitch 10 pts
Katia Abramzon 7 pts
Laine Selwyn & Jackie Johnson 2 pts each
For Raanana Hertzelia:
Tanisha Wright 20 pts
Abiola Wabara 13 pts
Mistie Williams 11 pts
Neda Djuric 10 pts
Ornit Shwartz 8 pts
Katia Levistky 4 pts
Chen Nusel 3 pts
Ramla on the verge
Photo: Motti Klinger