Ramla Wins Thriller, Again
79 – 78, that was the final score of the 4th thriller between Ramla and Ramat Hen and like the previous close games, Ramla won this time too. Katia Levtizky with a huge 3 cut a six-point deficit in half with 3 minutes to go and Ramla kept the momentum until Tamara Moore's free throw gave them the lead with 2.3 seconds left. She missed the 2nd shot and Ramla advance to the finals to meet Ramat Hasharon.
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Ramla 79 – Ramat Hen 78
It seems like we've already seen this movie. Ramat Hen who won't call it a season leading by a slim margin, Ramla makes a comeback and stays right in it. Ramat Hen's biggest lead was 7 with eight minutes to play but they wasted some possessions and let Ramla hand around. Ramat Hen still led 74 – 68 with under four minutes to play but Ramla finished the game with a 15 – 4 run. Shay Doron, who was excellent, gave her team a 78 – 76 lead with under a minute to go but that was Ramat Hen's final shot which went in. After Chen Shtain's missed three, Tamara Moore drew a very questionable call with 2.3 on the clock. She made the first, missed the 2nd on purpose and completed a great comeback. Not just for this game but the whole season.
The finals tip off on Tuesday in Ramat Hasharon (time TBD).
"I was really worried we're heading for a game 5 coin toss in Ramat Hen, but I believed we could win. This team has amazing character, this is a huge accomplishment, it's a small championship the way I see it", Eli Rabi summed up. "We make too many mistakes but we have character. We beat an excellent team in a fascinating series". Ramla's biggest star tonight was Katia Levitsky who scored 20 points including a huge three that sparked the game ending run. "I felt that three, I knew I had to take it and it went in. We had somebody else step up every game", she said. "We wanted it more and we were very focused. It's funny because in this stage of the season we're still a new team, we're on our way up".
Tamara Moore also made two huge clutch plays. After a pretty quiet night, she hit a critical three to tie the game at 76 and drew the game winning foul to put Ramla, the team everyone included us gave up on at some point, in the finals. "We have a lot of new players but we built a chemistry, improved our defense and we're in the finals", Moore said. "I believe you gotta play the whole game but my team needed me tonight in money time. I took the shot and hoped it goes in, if you don't shoot you'll never know".
On the losing side you couldn't expect Ramat Hen to digest what had happened to them. Other than the fact they outplayed Ramla tonight and had it robbed away from them, if you look at the whole series things look even worse. Ramat Hen lost the series by a total of six points, with two overtimes in the middle, after blowing late game leads in two games. "We showed that we have a lot to give, we just didn’t have enough time to get it all together", said Shay Doron who scored 22 points and added 10 rebounds plus 5 assists. "We couldn't do it for 40 minutes and that was the key today".
"It's heartbreaking", Ivory Latta added. "We always had the lead and it always got away from us. But like I told them in the locker room, I had a great time playing with them while I was here".
Ramat Hen went up 7 – 5 early on as Doron scored five on the break. Ramla began punishing the zone as they have all series and grabbed an 18 – 14 lead as Levistky and Sheri Sam led the way. LaToya Pringle made a rare set-game basket for Ramat Hen against Ramla's excellent man to man defense but the locals answered with a quick 5- 0 run which included Pringle & Walker's 2nd fouls. Ramat Hen also lost Latta to an ankle injury in the final 40 seconds of the 1st, but Doron who rested since the 6th minute came in and created five quick points to make it just 21 – 23.
With the 1 post lineup forced for the first time in the series by foul trouble, Ramat Hen regained the lead as Walker made a three point play and Ganor & Shtain hit threes, 31 -28. Doron, who scored 10 in the first to keep Ramat Hen in it, did the opposite in the 2nd quarter with three turnovers and a blown layup as Ramla flipped the score again. Ortal Oren and Lena Ogorodnikova made easy ones and Levitsky hit a long jumper to make it 41 -35 with under three to go in the half. Ramla did a great job getting back on defense and didn’t allow Ramat Hen to run but Doron hit a three to stop the bleeding. Oren answered right back with a three and Sam drew a foul to make it 46 -40. Latta made 2 of 4 free throws and Shtain hit a three in the final seconds to make it just 45 – 46 at the half.
Ogorodnikova with a three and a layup off a great dish from Gourevitch put Ramla up 51 – 50 with 7 to play in the 3rd. Both teams hit a drought and Ramat Hen snapped out first as Pringle made a three point play off their 2nd offensive board in the game. Noa Ganor added a nice three to make it 56 – 51 with four to go in the 3rd. After a timeout Ramla took advantage of a few Ramat Hen turnovers to retake the lead on Levitsky's basket, 58 – 57. Doron made a tough basket and a full court pass to Walker to give Ramat Hen the momentum back after three, 61 – 58.
Ramat Hen opened its biggest lead as Doron hit a three, 65 – 58, two minutes in. Pringle at the line and Doron with another two made it 69 – 63, six to play. Ramla came back after Walker missed a layup and two put backs that turned into a Sam three on the other end, 68 – 69. Ramat Hen made its final spurt of the season as Doron found Pringle twice on the break, 74 – 68, 3:40 left. Eli Rabi called a timeout to make sure his team knows they can climb back out of this hole, too. Levitksy hit a huge three and Gourevitch hit a jumper to quickly make it 73 – 74 as Ramat Hen settled for a Shtain airball and a Pringle travel, two minutes to play. Shtain got a fast break layup to make it three but Moore tied it with a clutch three, one minute left. Doron got Ramat Hen the lead back on a step back jumper but Moore tied it again with a layup on Latta. Ramat Hen's biggest possession of the season ended up in Shtain's hands and she couldn't hit from three point range. Levitsky secured the rebound and the ball went to Moore who got the questionable call with 2.3 left. 1st in, 2nd out, series over.
Katia Leviztky 20 pts
Tamara Moore 14 pts
Lena Ogorodnikova & Sheri Sam 13 pts each
Ina Gourevitch 10 pts
Ortal Oren 7 pts
Abiola Wabara 2 pts
For Ramat Hen:
Shay Doron 22 pts, 10 rebs, 5 ast
LaToya Pringle 20 pts
Ayana Walker 10 pts
Ivory Latta, Chen Shtain & Noa Ganor 8 pts each
Michal Epstein 2 pts