Yellow History
Safsal ,03/22/2012
Maccabi Ashdod dominated the Israeli Cup Finals against Ramat Hasharon and won, 63 – 50, much to the delight of their awesome fans. Endi Dagan upped his unbelievable record at Cup Finals to 7 for 7, as his team was led by Tamera Young and Ashley Shields. Ashdod played smart and uncompromising basketball from the tip and charged hard for the Cup.

Maccabi Ashdod 63 - Ramat Hasharon 50
Ashdod dominated the game throughout, starting with a knock out victory in the battle in the stands. Ashdod's fans were loud and standing up and took up most of the stands, while Ramat Hasharon's small following was mainly seated quietly. On the court, the teams looked a lot like the fans – Ashdod was the aggressor and went inside often, with three players in double figures. Ramat Hasharon was passive and got off to a bad start in each of the first 3 quarters, and settled often for shots from outside the paint, missing about two thirds of them. Jia Perkins was the only reliable source for points, and she ran out of gas in the 4th.

As mentioned, this is Dagan's 7th cup in 7th final appearances, an insane record. Tonight his surprise ace was starting Brashida Elohim, who didn’t play in the semis. "We decided to start Brashida, to mix it up since she didn’t play in the semis, and she did an exceptional job", said Edni Dagan. "Tonight isn't about me, it's about Ashdod winning its first title". It is Ashdod's first title in any sport in the pro leagues.

Ashdod's victory was never really in question. They led 10 – 2 early on, led 32 – 20 during the 2nd quarter, and 43 – 32 during the 3rd. Ramat Hasharon cut it to 41 – 47 in the final minutes of the 3rd, but could never get a real momentum going. Ashdod shot 52% from two point range compared to Ramat Hasharon's 34%, got more rebounds, more assists, more steals and basically outplayed Ramat Hasharon in every category.

"This is my first title, it's great to win it in my first season in Israel. It feels good to win after you work so hard", said Tamera Young, who was named MVP of the game. Ashdod led by as many as 12, but in the 4th saw their lead cut to six as they went on a 6:30 minute scoring drought. "We didn't stress because we were still leading. We needed to calm down and try to execute to keep the lead".

So is it sweeter to win a Cup with Ashdod than with Ramla? "I think so", said Plenette Pierson. "We wanted to give back to our management and the fans for everything they do for us, with a 1st title ever for the city. We knew we had to come with energy early, in past games they jumped on us at the beginning and it was our downfall", she continued. "Tamera is a big guard that can post up and she gives us a lot of versatility", said Pierson about Ashdod's MVP tonight. "I have to give kudos to Brasheeda also, even know she didn't play a lot this season she came in ready and gave us a spark in the beginning"

"The way they played tonight, they are the best team in the league and all credit to them, they outplayed us", said coach Orna Ostfeld. "It's not just that we didn't show up to play, they disrupted our game plan and made us look bad. It was our worst game of the season, but they deserve credit for it as well. We just chased them and you can't win a final when you execute this poorly. We never got any momentum going".

Jia Perkins had similar things to say. "We could never find our rhythm, from the start. You have to give credit to Ashdod, they played great defense. We score 50 and that says it all. From the beginning we couldn't find ourselves, it was difficult getting shots, I don't know how many shot clock violations we had. It just wasn't our game, we didn't get players the ball to take shots they're comfortable shooting, that was part of the problem".

Ashdod stormed out of the gates as Young scored 7 to put them up 10 – 2. Ashdod increased the lead to 14 – 6 with a steal and layup by Shields, as Ramat Hasharon failed to take advantage of their offensive rebounds. More transition points made it a 20 – 11 Ashdod lead. Perkins with a three and Clark with a three point play forced some life into Ramat Hasharon, as they got within 20 – 23 by the end of the quarter.

Ramat Hasharon started the 2nd quarter in a zone. Ashdod wisely went inside to Pierson early, but then began settling for threes. Pierson's bucket plus their one successful three (out of 4) was enough to make it 28 – 20, as Ramat Hasharon failed to translate stops into points. Too many turnovers, hesitated shots, and passing it inside to Anosike who was far from productive. Ramat Hasharon somehow managed to string together two straight hoops and cut it to 27 – 32, but Shields answered with an important basket to end the half with Ashdod up 34 – 27.

The 3rd also opened with Ashdod taking charge, as Young & Kolodni made it 39 – 32. Ashdod played smart as Pierson scored inside and added a nice pass to Shields, 43 – 32. Ostfeld's third timeout of the game wasn't helpful as Ramat Hasharon continued to look awful offensively. Perkins with an assist to Fliescher and a fast break layup cut it to 41 – 47, but that again wasn't enough to create a momentum switch. Young fought for a rebound and made it 49 – 41 after three quarters.

The 4th quarter was uglier than the first three. Ramat Hasharon used pressure and managed a few stops but no points, as Ashdod hung on the lead despite not scoring for 6:30 minutes. The reason? Ramat Hasharon scored four. Ashdod eventually snapped out of the drought as Elohim hit a basket, Shields hit a long two and Young got a big put back to make it 57 – 45 and officially seal the deal.

For Ashdod:
Tamera Young 19 pts, 10 rebs, 4 ast
Ashley Shields 17 pts, 6 rebs, 4 stl
Planette Pierson 15 pts, 8 rebs
Brashida Elohim 7 pts, 5 rebs
Nomi Kolodny 3 pts, 5 ast
Britney Denson 2 pts

For Ramat Hasharon:
Jia Perkins 21 pts, 5 rebs
Alysha Clark 8 pts
Nicky Anosike 7 pts, 6 rebs, 7 TOs
Amber Holt 6 pts, 6 rebs, 5 TOs
Maurita Reid 6 pts, 7 rebs, 4 TOs
Jeniffer Fleischer 2 pts

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