Hapoel Holon guard Khalif Wyatt scored a game-high 31 points in last night’s 92-84 overtime win at Hapoel Tel Aviv..
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
After almost 64 years and following 54 consecutive defeats, Hapoel Holon has finally beaten Maccabi Tel Aviv on the road in regular season BSL action.
Holon moved tied with Maccabi with a 17-7 record at the top of the standings, claiming an 80-79 victory at Yad Eliyahu Arena for its first-ever road win over the yellow-and-blue in regular season play.
Holon led by as many as 14 points early in the fourth quarter, but ultimately survived by the skin of its teeth, with Maccabi’s Victor Rudd missing a chance to win the game at the buzzer.
James Bell led Holon with 28 points, with Darion Atkins adding 17 points and 10 rebounds. Rudd had 23 points and seven rebounds for Maccabi, which was playing its fifth game in 10 days It took Holon two-and-a-half minutes to get on the board, but Maccabi only managed four points during that stretch and it wasn’t long before the visitors tied the score.
Bell’s basket capped an 8-0 Holon run and gave Hapoel its first lead of the night (17-15), but it was Maccabi which took a two-point edge (22-20) into the second quarter.
Holon scored the first eight points of the second period to move back in front and remained in the lead until the break.
Maccabi couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end and Atkins’s basket at the buzzer opened a seven-point margin (43-36) at the interval.
After scoring 14 points in the second quarter, the hosts only managed 15 in the third, allowing Holon to open a 12-point gap (63-51) entering the final 10 minutes from Tu Holloway’s three off the backboard at the buzzer.
Holon’s cushion reached 14 points (65-51) early in the fourth frame, but Maccabi consistently ate away at the margin and the visitors only prevailed after a nail-biting finish.
The battle for playoff qualification and home-court advantage in the quarterfinals continues on Monday. Hapoel Eilat (13-10) can climb up to fourth place at the expense of Hapoel Jerusalem with a win at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (10-13). A Gilboa victory would moved it tied with Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Ironi Nahariya, who currently sit in seventh and eighth positions.
Hapoel Tel Aviv (11-12) has lost three of its past nine games and enters Monday’s meeting with Maccabi Kiryat Gat (4-19) on the back of a 26-point thrashing at the hands of Maccabi in the derby. Kiryat Gat is quickly losing hope of avoiding relegation to the National League, sitting in last place in the standings, four games back of Maccabi Ashdod.
Ashdod (8-15) hosts Bnei Herzliya (14-9) on Monday.
Hapoel Jerusalem won’t be in action again until next Monday when it hosts Gilboa. Jerusalem could use the break after suffering a humbling 24-point defeat (83-59) at Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Saturday, three days after being knocked out by Valencia in the semifinals of the Eurocup.
Coach Simone Pianigiani gave his players three days of rest before they return to training ahead of their final nine regular season games.
“We can’t afford to play like this,” said Jerusalem guard Bar Timor.
“We have reached the final stretch of the season and we must understand that we can’t continue like this.”