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Israel Basketball Team Loses out to Underdog U.S. Squad at 10th Maccabiah

July 22, 1977
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The 10th Maccabiah Games ended last night when a highly favored Israel basketball team lost in the finals to the underdog U.S. squad by 92-91 before 7000 fans. The contest had the fans on their feet for the full 40 minutes of play.

Considered too young and immature for the internationally tested Israelis, the boys from the States, led by high school All-Americans Dan Schayes and Willie Sims, together with Syracuse University freshman Hal Cohen and Maryland’s yearling Brian Magid, led at half time 42-41 after trailing by as many as nine points. In the second half the Americans built up a nine point lead but blew it as the game came down to the wire.

With three seconds remaining and Israel leading 90-89, Sims drove for the hoop and was fouled. While the panting fans from the U.S. cheered, the Israelis booed to distract the Black Jew from long Island City High School. After an Israeli time-out, Sims stepped to the foul line, took a deep breath and calmly caged two foul shots giving the U.S. a point edge. The host quintet couldn’t get the ball in play with three seconds left on the clock thereby giving America its first basketball championship in three Maccabiahs.

Sims, a quiet, lovable character, who had to leave the Yad Vashen structure in Jerusalem last Thursday because of an emotional breakdown that had him sobbing, remarked in the dressing room, "It’s great to be a Jew in Israel. These have been among the happiest days of my life."

The U.S. for the first time in Maccabiah history, emerged as overall top medal winner with a total of 192 compared to Israel’s 190. The other competing nations were for behind the leaders in winning the coveted hardware.


In the diving competition, Michael Taber and Tony Scott of the U.S., ran 1-2 on both the three meter and 10 meter boards, setting game records in the process. Julie Bachman of the U.S., took golds in both women dives also establishing new records for her board work. The American wrestlers took nine medals in Greco-Roman wrestling and seven in free-style grappling. Israel didn’t win a gold in this area while Canada surprised with four.

Rabbi Alex Sternberg, karate coach, withdrew the U.S. from the competition after one day due to the fact that the games organizing committee changed the rules governing the sport. Months ago, the rabbi was advised karate would be played under one set of rules only to find that pressure from European nations forced the games committee to switch playing rules on the eve of the games. Sternberg refused to go along with the change and with the approval of the U.S. Committee Sports for Israel which sponsors the American athletes, withdrew his team from the play.


Top rated Steve Krulevitz of the U.S. whipped teammate Larry Nagler in the men’s tennis finals 6-3, 6-2. Despite their excellent play the men had to yield to the women for suspense in the double finals. Here in a tough two-and-a-half-hour match, South Africa’s defending duo, Ilana Kloss and Helen Weiner eked out a win over U.S. players Jodi Applebaum and Dona Robin, who led in the third set 5-3 and then blew the match.

In the women’s final unrated Dane Gilbert beat her doubles partner Stacy Margolin in a brilliant display of two-handed backhand from corner to corner, running Margolin ragged. In six previous matches between these two, Margolin prevailed, but in this match she couldn’t cope with Ms. Gilbert.

Peter Rennert and Joel Ross of the U.S., were sharp and swift in disposing of Israel’s Haim Arlosoroff and Reuven Porges 6-3, 6-4, in the men’s double final. Rennert then teamed with Margolin in mixed doubles to down South Africa’s Ilana Kloss and Graham Silverman 6-3, 7-5, for the gold medallion.

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