Maccabi Tel Aviv, Holon remain neck-and-neck

The yellow-and-blue bounce back from cup defeat and Jerusalem loses again.

February 19, 2018 00:14
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv, Holon remain neck-and-neck

Maccabi Tel Aviv guard John DiBartolomeo (left picture) scored a team-high 18 points in his team’s 76-73 win over Maccabi Ashdod in the State Cup semifinals last night before Hapoel Holon’s Guy Pnini (right picture) netted 12 points in his side’s triumph over Hapoel Jerusalem in the second semi at Y. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Glen Rice Jr. heroics ensured Hapoel Holon built on its State Cup triumph in BSL action on Sunday night, while Maccabi Tel Aviv bounced back from the loss in the final with a victory over Maccabi Ashdod.

A spectacular basket by Rice with 1.6 seconds to play gave Holon an 86-84 victory over Tel Aviv in the cup final last Thursday, securing the club its second cup triumph, a first since 2009.

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The BSL’s leading scorer finished the final with 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and lifted his game when it mattered most once more on Sunday. Holon trailed by as many as 18 points (64-46) in the second half of the game at Maccabi Rishon Lezion. But Rice and Tu Holloway led the cup holder back into the contest, with the latter bringing Dan Shamir’s side within two points and also being fouled with 2.1 seconds to play in regulation.

Holloway intentionally missed his free throw and Rice caught the rebound and scored at the buzzer to force overtime (89-89). The American forward took over in the additional five minutes scoring eight of his 27 points to secure Holon’s 102-97 overtime victory.

Rice also had 12 rebounds and seven assists, with Holloway scoring 25 points.

Murphy Holloway had 28 points and 13 rebounds for Rishon, which fell to 7-10.

“I’m not quite sure what happened here,” admitted Shamir.

“Somehow we managed to comeback and it is very sweet to enter the break without dropping this game. It was only to be expected that this game would be tough mentally and physically, but I felt we were ready for the game, although it ended up being tough anyway.”

Holon improved to a 13-4 record, remaining one game back of Maccabi Tel Aviv (14-3) after it defeated Maccabi Ashdod 92-86.

Deshaun Thomas scored 20 points for Tel Aviv, which is still reeling from the heartbreaking loss to Holon in the cup final.

“We needed this win,” admitted Thomas. “It was a big win for us. The loss in the cup was tough but the season is not over. We are No. 1 in the Israeli league so we have got to keep that spot.”

Sek Henry had 29 points for Ashdod which fell to 9-8, losing to Maccabi for the second time in a week after also falling to the yellow-and-blue in the cup semis last Monday.

Hapoel Jerusalem fell to 11-6, being outplayed in an 88-79 defeat at Ironi Ness Ziona (6-11) which entered the game tied for the worst record in the league. Jerusalem trailed by 15 points at the break (55-40) and never recovered. Daequan Cook had 21 points for the winners, with Jerome Dyson scoring 15 for Hapoel, which couldn’t rebound from the loss to Holon in the cup semis.

“This was a very bad game for us on both ends of the floor,” said Jerusalem coach Mody Maor. “I knew that we would either react with intensity and anger or that it would look like this and unfortunately it looked like this. This is what it looks like when you are in a crisis and now we need to find our way out of it.”

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