In an awesome playoff thriller, Ramla & Ramat Hasharon exchanged blows for 40 minutes and Ramat Hasharon was 6 seconds away from a 5th and deciding game. Tanisha Wright stole the inbound play and got a game winning shot to go with 1.5 seconds left to lift Ramla to victory. They will face Ashdod in the finals as a re-match of last season.
Ramla 60 – Ramat Hasharon 59
If we had asked you who you think will end up hitting a game winner tonight, you would've said Tanisha Wright without giving it a second thought. That's exactly what happened tonight although under very unlikely circumstances. Game 5 nearly became a reality as Jia Perkins in a great game for her put Ramat Hasharon up 59-58 with 23 seconds to go. Ramat Hasharon got a big stop despite 2 offensive rebounds by Amber Harris, as a jumpball was called and the possession arrow pointed to the visitors.
Following a timeout, Alysha Clark tried to inbound the ball at half court with 5.9 seconds left on the clock. She tried to find Perkins who was caught in what looked like a moving screen, and Tanisha Wright stole the pass. Perkins chased after her and got an incredible block, leaving Ramla to inbound under the basket with 2.5 to play. Selwyn inbounded to Wright for a layup, she hit it and drew a foul. Wright missed the free throw with 1.5 on the clock to seal the win, 60 – 59.
"It's unbelievable. We were eliminated from the Eurocup here at home also on an inbound pass, and in the cup semis we had a potential game winning shot against Ramat Hasharon that didn't go. We were lucky today", said Adan Inbar at the end. "When there were 6 seconds left I felt we had to do everything we can in order to win cause that's the sport, I had trouble believing but it's not over till it's over", he continued. "Along with the cup semis, we played 5 straight games against Ramat Hasharon. We're sick of it and so are they. I know it's a very big rivalry and people won't appreciate me saying this but it was a pleasure playing against them. Good basketball, high level, heart, just a series to remember. I'm glad we're moving on", he concluded.
In a back and forth game that contained 10 lead changes and 6 ties, no team led by more than 7 and both were in a position to win it. Ramla again proved how much heart & character they have by coming back from 6 points down in the 4th and not giving up when all really seemed lost. Ramla's defense was again fantastic, they allowed only two field goals in the 2nd quarter and held Ramat Hasharon without a field goal in the final 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter. On the losing side we can't help but acknowledge Jia Perkins' heroic performance, she finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 blocks. If anyone can go to sleep tonight knowing she did all she possibly could to win tonight, it's Perkins.
"As long as there's time on the clock, there's a chance", said tonight's biggest winner, Tanisha Wright. "Amber did a great job denying the ball on the inbound play, and Laine was very patient with the pass", said Wright. The refs were quite patient too. "This is how the playoffs should be, gotta show up for the big plays", added Wright who finished the game with 21 points.
"Tanisha was great, she did it all, it doesn't matter how much she scores", said Laine Selwyn, her backcourt teammate. "In the final seconds I was thinking about the Eurocup loss. After Jia's block with 2.5 left, I knew it wasn't over because we had time. It was a great series, one of the most competitive series I've had in a long time. Lots of respect to them, every game was a hard battle, everyone gave their hearts, I really enjoyed it"
"We should have won, it was in our hands. That turnover is the absulote worse thing that could happen to a team and a coach", said the disappointed Orna Ostfeld who chose not to complain about the two controversial no-calls at the end. "It hurts a lot, but we'll have to wait till next season. I'd like to thank my entire staff, Tamar, and the players who gave it their all", she concluded.
For Elizur Ramla:
Tanisha Wright 21 pts, 4 stls
Amber Harris 11 pts, 14 rebs
Le'Coe Willingham 8 pts
Michal Epstein 8 pts
Alana Beard 6 pts, 7 rebs
Katia Levitsky 4 pts, 5 rebs
Laine Selwyn 2 pts, 8 rebs, 7 ast
For Ramat Hasharon:
Jia Perkins 24 pts, 8 rebs, 6 stls, 4 blks
Amber Holt 11 pts, 7 rebs
Alysha Clark 9 pts
Maurita Reid 8 pts
Nicky Anosike 7 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast
Wright & Willingham celebrate