(College of the Canyons men's basketball head coach Howard Fisher traveled to Israel this summer, coaching the USA Youth Men's Basketball team during the 20th World Maccabiah Games. The following is a recap of the gold medal game, which was won by the United States over Israel, 92-80. Chaffey College men's basketball coach Jeff Klein served as an assistant coach. Recaps and Coach Fisher's thoughts from other games and events are available at the links below, as well.)
HAIFA, Israel - After two days off following our semi-final victory, we had a morning shoot-around and prepared to face Israel in the gold medal game on Sunday night.
It was a high energy game with Team USA jumping out to an early 8-2 lead. Our largest lead was eight points in the first quarter.
The first half was back-and-forth with the U.S. holding a 45-43 lead heading into halftime lead, despite a poor three-point shooting percentage.
In the second half, Israel got hot from the field and put together it's largest lead at eight points with less than eight minutes to go in the fourth quarter.
We then went on a 14-3 run to end the game at 92-80, giving Team USA the gold medal victory.
It was an exciting game to be a part of and the excitement in the arena was palpable.
The medal ceremony included Canada (Bronze), Israel (Silver) and USA (Gold).
With family and friends cheering, our team took to the center of the court and embraced the experience together. We then shared the floor with all three teams together in a large group photo.
On Monday we took part in the Maccabiah Games closing ceremony at the Memorial Site and Armored Corps Museum in the historic community of Latrun.
We arrived at sundown as athletes from all 80 participating nations were gathered together trading pins, t-shirts, uniforms, jerseys, hats and other paraphernalia. The host of the event was model/actress, Bar Refaeli. It was an exciting evening with music, dancing and fireworks!
One of our team's themes through the Games was memories, and I'm certain that the relationships and experiences this team shared will long be remembered!
Today marked the end of journey of 12 young men who came together, united in the 20th Maccabiah theme: Better, Higher, Together.
It was an honor to be associated with such a diverse, unique and high character group of young men.
The World Maccabiah Games are the world's third largest international sporting event, with more than 9,000 total participants representing over 75 nations.