Ramla, who got blown out by 30 in Ramat Hasharon just three days ago, showed a lot of fighting spirit against Ramat Hen and should have won the game. Ramla came back from 12-points down with 18 minutes to go and led 70-64 with under 3 minutes to play. Shay Doron with a big 3 sparked a 9-0 Ramat Hen run in the remaining minutes and Ramat Hen escaped, 73 – 70.
Ramla 70 - Ramat Hen 73
They say good teams need to know how to win in bad days too. Ramat Hen didn't look like that good of a team tonight but should definitely be pleased it didn’t end up costing them the game. Ramla was first to every loose ball and won the rebounding battle, including 13-3 on the offensive glass, but missed too many outside shots to take advantage of it. Ramat Hen woke up in the last minute and pulled out a very important win.
"We brought in a great player and she's not an integral part of the team yet, once she settles in we'll be much better" said coach Edni Dagan at the end. That player, Shay Doron, scored half of her 10 points in the game winning 9-0 run including a critical 3 after a momentum shot by Matalya Belvin who gave Ramla its biggest lead. Doron left her sentiments towards Ramla on the sidelines, along with the flowers and the huge stuffed teddy bearshe received from the fans prior to the game.
"We missed point blank layups. The refs sent them to the line a bit too generously at the end, but we had enough chances", said Eli Rabi at the end. "This is a game we should have won".
Ramla started the game with six straight points by Katia Levitzky and led 10-3 after 4 minutes. Tamara James in a good first half kept Ramat Hen close and by the end of the 1st they even led, 21-19. Tamara Moore, Ramla's new point guard who sent Belvin to the bench, hit two 3s to give Ramla a 28-24 lead. James answered with two 3s of her own to give the visitors the momentum. By halftime Ramat Hen increased the lead to 9 with points in fastbreaks and 3-point plays by Pringle and Latta, 43 – 36 at the break.
Ramla shot just 3 for 18 from 3 while Ramat Hen hit 9 for 15. Latta's couple of 3s made it 50-38 with 8 minutes left in the 3rd, but Ramla ended the quarter on a 20-8 run. The locals were a lot more aggressive and had the momentum on their side while Dagan made no substitutions and called no timeouts despite the fact his team played no defense, 58 – 57 for Ramla after 3. It could have been a lot worse for Ramat Hen had Tamara Moore not held Pringle back and prevented her from picking up a technical foul or two after she and Wabara exchanged shoves and got called for a double flagrant foul.
Ramla continued to dominate the offensive glass and force turnovers in the 4th and seemed to have the game going their way. Belvin drove in to beat the shotclock and make it 70-64 with 3 minutes to go, but Ramla would not score another point.
Doron was quick to answer with a big 3 but Ramat Hen's offense was struggling since Ramla realized the only efficient thing Ramat Hen can do is go inside to Pringle, and she was constantly doubled or tripled teamed. On the other side Ramat Hen started playing defense for a change and Ramla helped them by missing good shots that didn't lead to offensive rebounds this time. Doron and Latta made 6 of 6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
"We played with a lot of heart today. We got some loose balls, big time rebounds and got the win", said Ivory Latta who scored 23 points including 4 of 4 free throws in the final seconds. "They beat us on the boards but we won the game. I knew the coaches wanted me to get the ball in my hands at the end and I was very confident".
For Ramat Hen:
Ivory Latta 23 pts
LaToya Pringle 22 pts, 13 rebs
Tamara James 12 pts
Shay Doron 10 pts
Michal Epstein 6 pts
Abiola Wabara 24 pts
Matalya Belvin 13 pts
Tamara Moore 12 pts, 8 rebs
Olenda Ogorodnikova 9 pts
Ina Gourevitch 7 pts
Katia Levitzky 6 pts
Photo: Motti Klinger