France edges Canada in hoops; Israel baseball triumphs

In an intriguing men’s 100m back final, Israel’s Guy Barnea (55.00s) beats countryman Jonatan Kopelev (56.00s).

By SAMMY HUDES
July 24, 2013 04:09
3 minute read.
The 19th Maccabiah Games

Maccabiah logo 370. (photo credit: Hana Ben Ano and Tal Huber)

A dominant third quarter propelled France’s open male Maccabiah basketball team to a 76-70 win over Canada and its assistant coach, Amar'e Stoudemire, on Tuesday.

Entering the second half down 42-32, France rallied in the third, outscoring Canada 25-6 en route to the victory. French point guard Yoni Dray attributed his team’s comeback to playing better defense in the second half.

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“In the first half [we were] a little bit nervous but we calmed down and played our game as a team,” Dray said.

“Only defense can win games…Offense starts on defense,” he said. “We succeeded to steal some balls and go do easy layups. In the end they made a nice comeback, but the better team won, I think.”

Yonathan Levi led France in scoring with 25 points, while Canadian Morgan Tajfel scored a game-high 26.

Jonathan Starkman added 15 points for France in the win.

Canadian head coach John Dore said his team’s lack of offense in the second half was the difference.

“We couldn’t score, couldn’t put the ball in the hoop,” Dore said.

“The first shot we had was a good look, but we missed it. They came down and hit a couple threes and they got on a roll.”

Dore felt defensive errors also factored into Canada’s third quarter collapse.

“We made a few mistakes defensively and we didn’t get good help and just let them come off the screens easily. They had open looks.”

He added that Canada had a hard time controlling the ball throughout the match.

“Turnovers were a problem all game but particularly in the third quarter,” he said. “Every time you turn the ball over it’s a lost opportunity. We lost a lot of opportunities.”

Foul trouble was also costly for Canada, which picked up 21 fouls to France’s 13.

With the victory, France improved to 2-0 in the tournament’s preliminary round-robin stage. The French will play Greece and Israel in their final two preliminary round matches.

Canada, now 1-2 in the preliminary round, will close out its round-robin against Israel on Friday.

In other Maccabiah news from Tuesday, Israel’s youth baseball team avenged a 14-run thrashing with a 5-3 victory over the USA at the Baptist Village.

The Americans crushed Israel 15-1 on Sunday, but Israel showed its character with a victory on Tuesday, although it still remained in last place in its group behind the USA and Canada.

“This is an historic win for Israel,” said Israel Association of Baseball CEO Haim Katz. “I can’t remember the USA team every losing in the Maccabiah.”

American Andrea Muraz picked up her third individual gold medal in the pool on Tuesday, winning the 100-meter backstroke final in 1:04.38 minutes.

In an intriguing men’s 100m back final, Israel’s Guy Barnea (55.00s) beat countryman Jonatan Kopelev (56.00s).

Elsewhere, following in the footsteps of her father, Jacqueline Gigan wanted to be part of the Maccabiah Games, so she founded the Canadian volleyball team.

The Canadian lost in three straight sets to the Americans on Monday, but considering the fact that the team was founded only a few months ago, they are facing quite a challenge. The team was founded by Gigan, an 18-year-old girl from Toronto.

She decided to join her father, who is participating in the Maccabiah as a coach, and her two brothers who play for the softball team. To make her dream come true, she started looking for Jewish candidates on Facebook. She managed to recruit eight girls. Her mother and her younger brother also arrived to cheer team Canada, so now all the Gigan family is in Israel.

Michal Daniel contributed to this report.


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