Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Jerusalem continue to roll

Yellow-and-blue cruises against Rishon; Hapoel keeps pace after outplaying Eilat on the road.

March 9, 2015 01:53
2 minute read.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis

Maccabi Tel Aviv center Sofoklis Schortsanitis scored 21 points in 17 minutes in the 113-93 win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at Yad Eliyahu Arena. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv bounced back from its frustrating Euroleague loss at Red Star Belgrade with its 16th straight BSL win on Sunday, while Hapoel Jerusalem made it six consecutive victories in Eilat.

The yellow-and-blue fell apart in five fourth-quarter minutes in Belgrade, being outscored 20-0 on the way to a defeat which complicated its situation in the Top 16.

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However, Maccabi has no such headaches in the BSL, moving to 20-2 on Sunday with a comfortable 113-93 victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion at Yad Eliyahu Arena.

Tel Aviv pulled ahead in the second quarter to take a 16-point gap (58-42) into the break and cruised to the win in the second half.

Perhaps the best news for Maccabi on Sunday was the play of Sofoklis Schortsanitis, with the Greek center finishing with 21 points and six rebounds in 17 minutes, hitting 8-of-9 field goals.

Jeremy Pargo led the yellowand- blue with 25 points, with Marquez Haynes scoring 17 points.

“We were sharp and played well,” said Goodes. “Sofo was back and he did an excellent job.

He played with a lot of energy and it is very important for us that he is part of the team.”

Sofo missed the State Cup final and a Euroleague contest due to an ankle injury, and after poor performances in his first two games back last week, looked far sharper against Rishon.

“We came out after a bad loss in Belgrade and we just had to win today,” said Sofo. “I came back from an injury so I still need time.”

Dominique Johnson had 18 points for Rishon (12-10).

In Eilat, Hapoel Jerusalem dominated the closing stages on the way to an 88-76 win over the locals. A 15-0 run late in the game ensured Jerusalem improved to 16-6 and maintained its hold on second place.

Lior Eliyahu had 21 points for Jerusalem, with Yotam Halperin netting 20 points. Elishay Kadir and Afik Nissim scored 17 points each for Eilat (10-12).

Also Sunday, Bnei Herzliya made it three wins from four games under interim coach Micky Gorka, beating Maccabi Ashdod 92-79 on the road.

Herzliya took a three-point cushion (66-63) into the final 10 minutes after three tight quarters and a James Nunnally three kept the hosts within a single possession (80-77) late in the contest.

However, Herzliya would dominate the closing stages, ending the night with a 12-2 run to continue its recent surge.

Josh Selby had 20 points for Herzliya, which improved to 9-13. Julian Wright and Aviram Zelikovic added 19 and 18 points, respectively.

Nunnally finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds for Ashdod, which fell to 6-16.

“This is our biggest win in my time as coach,” said Gorka.

“People thought the team might crack after the heartbreaking loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv and I’m very proud of the guys. I appreciate the fact that I’m the coach and I’m enjoying every win.”

On Monday, Ironi Ness Ziona (10-11), which has lost six straight games, welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (5-16), which has dropped eight consecutive contests. Ironi Nahariya (9-12) visits Maccabi Haifa (8-13) and Hapoel Holon (12-9) faces Hapoel Tel Aviv (12-9).

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