Maccabi Rishon wins historic 1st Israeli league title

Maccabi RishonMaccabi Rishon LeZion has made history by winning the Israeli Premier League (Winner League) overcoming defending champs Hapoel Jerusalem Migdal 77-83 in the final game.

The victory represents the first title in the clubs history, which also stops Jerusalem from winning an historic second consecutive title. However, the final ensured that dominant Israeli club, Maccabi Tel Aviv, is now without a championship in two seasons, its longest drought in history.

Maccabi Rishon managed to piece together the win thanks to a stunning performance from the starting five, which buoyed the team. The bench offered a poor 7 points during the game, but the starters picked up the slack with 76 points and drove the club to victory.

Anybody who watched the first quarter would be amazed that Hapoel Jerusalem did not romp to victory, the club roared out of the tip-off and opened a 28-17 lead through ten minutes. Maccabi Rishon settled in the second frame and started clawing back the deficit, winning Q2 15-21 to make it 43-38 through the long break. The momentum had firmly swung in favour of the underdog and in the third act Rishon took the lead with an 18-26 run that made it 61-64 through thirty minutes. A tense fourth quarter followed, but at the end of the game Rishon held on to secure the historic title.

Darryl Monroe sparked the comeback and drove Rishon for the contest with a game high 29 points, while Shawn Dawson added 21. That sixty point combination set the tone and Chris Wright followed with 11 points and 9 rebounds.

Tony Gaffney paced Hapoel Jerusalem with 20 points, while Earl Rowland hauled 16 points and Donta Smith 14 points in the losing effort.

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