|MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Devin Smith 370.(Photo by: Adi Avishai)|
Netanya finally falls, loses grip on first place
By ALLON SINAI
Mac TA moves atop standings after Eilat triumph; Hap Jerusalem at .500 with win in Holon.
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem recorded hard-fought BSL road victories on
Sunday night, while Barak Netanya dropped to its first defeat of the
Maccabi showed no lasting effects from Thursday’s first
Euroleague defeat of the season to Unicaja Malaga, dominating Hapoel Eilat in
the fourth quarter on the way to a 79-68 victory.
Jerusalem beat Hapoel
Holon 76-68, with Netanya falling to a 94-86 overtime loss at Maccabi
On Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv visits the winless Hapoel Gilboa/Galil,
with the games between Ironi Ashkelon and Bnei Herzliya and Maccabi Rishon
Lezion and Maccabi Ashdod being postponed to Wednesday due to the ongoing rocket
fire from Gaza.
Maccabi and Eilat traded the lead time and again in the
first half, but the yellow- and-blue ended the second quarter with a 17-2 run
and seemed comfortable enough with a 44-35 gap at the break.
third period would belong to the southerners, with Eilat going on a 22-4 surge
capped by an Ezequiel Skverer three-pointer (59-50).
Eilat lost its way
after that, scoring just two points in the next nine minutes of the game, with
Malcolm Thomas netting the last six points of the yellowand- blue’s 21-2 charge
to open a 71-61 lead from which the hosts were never going to come
Lior Eliyahu led Maccabi with 18 points, six rebounds and six
assists, with Ricky Hickman, Devin Smith and Thomas scoring 17, 16 and 15
“The defeat to Malaga was really tough because we
prepared really well for that game and we lost our focus due to everything that
is going on,” said Maccabi coach David Blatt. “However, we showed our character
tonight by bouncing back in a tough road game.”
Scotty Hopson had 22
points and six boards for Eilat, which fell to 4-2.
In Holon, Jerusalem
had the edge (38- 35) at the break and pulled ahead in the second half for a
Josh Duncan led five Jerusalem players in
double-figures with 14 points, with Jerome Dyson scoring 22 points for
In Haifa, Netanya took an early double- digit lead (18-8), but had
just a sixpoint cushion (39-33) at the half.
Haifa completed its comeback
by the end of the third quarter (59-58), but it was fortunate not to lose the
game at the buzzer, with both Ramel Bradley and Yehu Orland missing chances to
win the encounter in the closing seconds.
The hosts made the most of
their second chance, beginning overtime with a game-clinching 10-2
Donta Smith had 26 points for Haifa, with Paul Stoll adding 17
points and seven assists and James Thomas contributing 15 points and 11
Bradley led six Netanya players in double figures with 19
points, while Deron Washington added 18 points and 11 boards.