Hapoel Jerusalem just slipped by Bnei Herzliya 89-88 at the wire in Israel Winner League action on Monday night as game MVP Jalen Adams scored the winning basket with just 2.4 seconds left to stun the visitors.
The two squads played neck-and-neck throughout the entire 40 minutes, which saw 28 lead changes, but Adams was just too good on this night as his 27 points helped Yotam Halperin’s squad to the one-point victory.
Retin Obasohan and Chris Babb fought it out early on in the game as the Jerusalem guard notched 16 points over the course of the first quarter to give the Reds a 25-19 lead after 10 minutes of play.
However, Babb continued to hit his shots from downtown for Oren Aharon’s team as the visitors snatched a 44-43 lead by halftime.
KC Rivers, who was making his capital city debut, made his presence felt in the third frame while Adams started heating up from all parts of the court and put down a mega dunk as the game headed into the decisive final frame with Jerusalem back in front 69-66.
Shawn Dawson, Andy Van Vliet and DJ Cooper, who just joined Herzliya, came out strong as Herzliya clung to a one-point lead but Adams found the winner as time ran down to hand the hosts the hard-earned conquest.
Adams led all scorers with 27 points, Obasohan added 24 points while Suleiman Braimoh chipped in with 12 points in the win. Babb paced Herzliya with 23 points, Dawson scored 19 points and Van Vliet added 14 points in the loss.
“It’s always better to win than to lose,” Halperin began following the game. “But it’s hard to be happy about the win as we didn’t play well. They pushed us to play their style of game and we have to get better to be able to dictate the game play going forward. It’s hard to win when you give up 88 points in a game.”
“This was a disjointing loss for us,” Aharoni lamented. “To lose in this way at Jerusalem is always painful and it’s not just the winning basket that was scored, but it was also losing the battle on the boards, 44-28. We didn’t close out the rebounds and Jerusalem was very dominant and that is what won the game.”
Adams also spoke about the game from his point of view.
“It’s a great feeling to win the game like this against such a good team. We battled hard and while we made some mistakes, we were able to win the game. As for the winning basket, I always have confidence when I go to the basket and while they were playing zone defense, I was able to find my way to the hoop.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv cruised to a 109-83 over Maccabi Rishon Lezion in a full-fledged team victory.
Five yellow-and-blue players scored in double digits while the club collectively dished out 33 assists and forced Rishon to commit 18 turnovers in the 26-point win.
Avi Even’s squad jumped all over the visitors to grab a decisive 32-13 lead after 10 minutes as Jalen Reynolds and Derrick Williams led the way.
Dror Cohen’s team tried to get back into the game with scoring from Ty Holloway and Anthony Brown to drill the gap down to eight points in the third quarter, but Tel Aviv’s Roman Sorkin couldn’t be stopped as the Israeli big man scored at will to secure the win.
Sorkin scored 20 points, Reynolds added 19 points, Williams checked in with 12 points while Scottie Wilbekin and Keenan Evans each chipped in 10 points in the victory. Holloway and Brown scored 18 points apiece while newcomer Archie Goodwin added 14 points for Rishon in defeat.
“We handed out 33 assists and had them commit 18 turnovers which is good,” Even said following the win. “But we also blew a large lead and there are things that we need to work on. We came into the game with the right energy, but the key is being consistent.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Holon held off Hapoel Haifa 87-70 as Guy Goodes’s squad cruised past the Carmel Reds without too much trouble.
After a low-scoring and tight first quarter, Holon began to pull away in the second frame as Michaele Kyser and Frederic Bourdillon paced the hosts to a 38-31 lead.
Tyrus McGee got hot in the quarter as Steve Zack and Chris Johnson helped Holon pull ahead by double digits to take the 27-point victory.
McGee led the way with 21 points, Kyser added 18 points and nine rebounds while Bourdillon checked in with 15 points in the win. Will Rayman scored 12 points and Kadeem Allen added 10 points for Elad Hasin’s team in the loss.
“It’s important to start this month on the right foot and this will be a challenging one with a lot of games,” Goodes said. “We have to continue on and today we scored a lot and that was from the defense. We showed aggressiveness, toughness and we took a number of offensive rebounds.”
Up north in the Galilee, Hapoel Galil Elyon clipped Hapoel Eilat 74-72 in a thriller as Ike Iroegbu nailed a clutch late three-pointer and free throws to snatch the win in the final minute of play.
The Red Sea city squad jumped out to an early lead as Bryon Allen and Toney Douglas led the way, but Iroegbu and Nimrod Levi helped cut the double-digit lead to 35-27 at halftime.
While Christian Doolittle continued to keep Eilat afloat in the second half, Bryce Washington and Chavaughn Lewis kept chipping away at the Eilat advantage until Iroegbu hit a game-tying triple and a pair from the charity stripe to give Galil Elyon the lead for good.
Levi scored 17 points and added nine boards, Iroegbu checked in with 16 points while Lewis and Washington each scored 10 points in the win. Doolittle paced Eilat with 14 points and 11 rebounds while Allen and Douglas each scored 14 points in the loss.
“We had a rough start but we knew that if we would stick together it would all come together,” Iroegbu said following the win. “Coach told us at halftime if we did that the shots would fall. We knew we would make shots and when they started to fall, we locked in on defense. At the end, coach told me to go and make a play and I was grateful that he had the trust in me to go and help secure the win.”
Also, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil eased by Hapoel Beersheba 72-60 as the Galilee squad jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
Four players scored in double digits for Guy Kaplan’s team, with Sacha Killeya-Jones leading the way with 21 points, Tyus Battle adding 20 points and Michael Brisker chippeingin with 13 points in the important home win. Dererk Pardon scored 16 points and Travis Warech added 11 points for Beersheba in the loss.
Finally, Hapoel Tel Aviv smashed Ironi Ness Ziona 99-83 as James Young starred with 32 points and 11 rebounds in the blowout win.
Following a tight first half, Young along with JP Tokoto, Josh Owens and J’Covan Brown helped the Reds pull away for the home conquest.
Tokoto came close to recording a triple-double with 15 points, 11 boards and nine assists, Owens checked in with 14 points and Brown dished out 16 assists for Danny Franco’s squad in the victory.
Tim Soares paced Lior Lubin’s Ness Ziona squad with 23 points while Frank Bartley added 18 points in the defeat.