David slays Goliath in thrilling TA derby

The Reds entered Sunday’s showdown after losing seven of their past nine games, but they stunned Maccabi 69-65 in Rishon Lezion.

March 4, 2013 00:11
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv's Demontez Stitt

Hapoel Tel Aviv's Demontez Stitt. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

After nine years, the dream finally turned into reality for Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Hapoel had lost 12 consecutive derby games against Maccabi Tel Aviv before Sunday and spent six years out of the BSL, being reconstructed by its fans from scratch, before finally returning to the top flight this season.

The Reds entered Sunday’s showdown after losing seven of their past nine games, but they stunned Maccabi 69-65 in Rishon Lezion for their first win over the yellow-and-blue since thrashing it 96-71 at Ussishkin Arena in the 2003/04 season.

“We have been through some tough months and I’m really emotional,” said Hapoel coach Erez Edelstein. “To beat Maccabi is something very special.

However, if we don’t defeat Holon next week we haven’t achieved anything.”

Sunday’s game went back and forth in the first half, with Hapoel leading 15-9 after 10 minutes thanks to a 13-2 run.

An 11-2 Maccabi surge to end the first half saw the yellow-andblue take a 28-24 advantage into the break, but it was Hapoel which had a one-point edge (42- 41) entering the final frame.

A Ricky Hickman three-pointer gave Maccabi a five-point margin (59-54) with 3:50 remaining, but Hapoel scored 12 of the next 14 points to clinch a memorable win.

Young Israeli guard Bar Timor was sensational for Hapoel, scoring 20 points, with Curtis Kelly adding 18 points and nine rebounds.

Hickman scored 23 points for Maccabi, which saw its 15-game winning streak in the BSL snapped, but faces a far more important encounter in the Euroleague at Fenerbahce Ulker on Thursday.

Elsewhere Sunday, Hapoel Eilat and Maccabi Haifa remained tied for second place in the standings.

Eilat edged Barak Netanya 74- 72, while Haifa won 89-82 at Bnei Herzliya.

Scotty Hopson scored 18 points for Eilat after missing the team’s past three games through injury, with Eli Holman adding 14 points and 13 boards.

Eyal Shulman had 19 points for Netanya.

Pat Calathes had 25 points and nine boards for Haifa, with Gel Mekel scoring 24.

J.R. Reynolds led Herzliya with 32 points.

Also Sunday, Hapoel Holon edged Ironi Ashkelon 83-82.

Holon’s Jerome Dyson ended the game with 25 points. After almost nine years in retirement, former Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Yoav Saffar played three minutes for Holon.

Jarvis Hayes had 19 points for Ashkelon, which has lost eight straight games.

Hapoel Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Monday.

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