Friendship Games: Rivalry game?

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Friendship Games: Rivalry game?
Jun 23, 2018

By Julia Karron

EILAT, Israel — After an afternoon of competitive basketball, players at this year’s Friendship Games got to experience an afternoon of sun, sand and water on Eilat’s beaches. Players relaxed by swimming and tanning, while the thrill seekers rode banana boats. As part of the mandatory cultural event, the players cruised along the Red Sea on a three-story yacht while dancing and mingling with each other.

Game of the Day

ASA Israel 52, Israeli Arabic 20

“People like to call this a rivalry game just because of what’s been happening in the country… But they’re all friends,” said Israeli Arabic coach Mohamed Abuarisha of today’s matchup. In a matchup usually dominated by ASA Israel, Abuarisha said “we have a better chance (of winning) this year.”

In ASA Israel’s opening match, which coach Gal Karsh said was “the most important game,” they stormed to a 16-5 in the first quarter, paced by Oz Vaturi’s 11 points in the first half. Karsh wanted to see “commitment” from his team, and it paid off quickly with steals that turned into orchestrated passing that whipped around the floor and quick points.

The Israeli Arabic team gained more possession time in the second quarter, but even though their plan was to “make shots and make threes,” said Abuarisha, nothing seemed to fall. Layups, mid-range shots and threes alike clanked off the rim or sailed wide.

Those misses and ASA Israel’s defense were a harbinger for the second half, as ASA Israel kept the Israeli Arabs to four points in the third quarter, the lowest of any quarter.

But coach Abuarisha said there would be “a lot of fun this game,” and nothing captured that more than his brother Shadi Abuarisha hugging and joking with the ASA Israel bench at the end of the third quarter.

Saturday’s Scores

Men’s Division

Lithuania 58, Palestine 24

Eilat 54, Poland 50

Jordan 44, Germany 39

Women’s Division:

Ukraine 48, ASA Israel 38

Russia 53, Jordan 10

The event’s organizers sponsored student coverage of the Friendship Games. Editorial control of the coverage and content remained with the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism.

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