Hapoel Tel Aviv outduels Hapoel Jerusalem

Eilat deals Avdija, yellow-and-blue 1st loss of season • Cellar-dweller Ashdod shocks Holon

WHILE ODED KATASH’S Hapoel Jerusalem has been cruising in the Champions League, it has hit a rut in local play, dropping three of the past four league games (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
WHILE ODED KATASH’S Hapoel Jerusalem has been cruising in the Champions League, it has hit a rut in local play, dropping three of the past four league games
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Tel Aviv put on a dominating performance in coach Ioannis Kastritis’s debut to take a 91-80 win over Hapoel Jerusalem at the Pais Arena in the capital to tip off Round 18 of the Israel Winner League.
The Tel Aviv Reds were in control from the get go as Mark Lyons (23 points, 11 assists), Latavious Williams (21 points, eight rebounds), Jordan Hamilton (19 points) and Tomer Ginat (17 points, nine rebounds) made sure to head back home with the victory.
The closest Jerusalem came was when it narrowed the gap to 66-62 in the fourth quarter thanks to eight straight points by TaShawn Thomas – who finished with 23 points – but it wasn’t enough to keep Oded Katash’s squad from falling to its second Israeli league loss in a row and three out of its last four games.
Hapoel Tel Aviv started the game strong with Williams crashing the inside, while Thomas did the same for Jerusalem early on.
Lyons, Hamilton and Ginat got to work midway through the first quarter for the visitors, while Nimrod Levi tried to keep the capital squad close and Jerusalem ended the frame down 21-17 to Tel Aviv.
Lyons continued his hot hand from outside and Hamilton scored on the inside as Kastritis’s team increased its lead to 30-22 with six minutes left in the second quarter.
Williams kept finding the bottom of the basket, as did Hamilton, while Lyons went from deep once again, but a three-pointer, floater and jumper from J’Covan Brown kept the hosts hanging around as Tel Aviv took a 41-35 advantage into halftime.
Hamilton opened the second half with a triple, but Shelvin Mack responded for Jerusalem with a reverse layup. However, Lyons put in a layup of his own over big man Idan Zalmanson as Hapoel Aviv bumped us their lead to 48-39 midway through the third quarter. Willams threw down his second alley-oop of the game and Lyons glided to a pair of layups, but Tamir Blatt hit back-to-back triples plus free throws to keep Jerusalem within striking distance.
Still, Tel Aviv maintained the upper hand with a 10-point advantage (64-54) after 30 minutes.
Thomas scored eight straight Jerusalem points to pull the Reds to within four (66-62), but Ginat hit a corner three to relieve some of the pressure and continued to score from outside early in the final stanza. However, Lyons put Tel Aviv in the driver’s seat with a slicing layup and a 78-66 lead with 4:28 remaining in regulation. Ginat hit another triple and Williams continued to pound the paint as Tel Aviv Reds coasted down the stretch to the 11-point road conquest.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Eilat surprised first-place Maccabi Tel Aviv 86-81 at the Red Sea city, sending the yellow-and-blue to its first league loss of the season.
Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s Maccabi took a 38-31 advantage into the second half, but Kyvon Davenport scored 11 points to open the third quarter for Arik Alfasi’s Eilat, which took the lead for good, canceling out Deni Avdija’s career-high 26 points.
Davenport led Eilat with 20 points, Rayvonte Rice added 18 points and Jonathan Skjöldebrand scored 14 points in the win.
Also, last-place Maccabi Ashdod stunned upstart Hapoel Holon 82-69 at the Port City to win only its third game of the season.
Stefanos Dedas’s Holon took a 43-37 lead into halftime, but Brad Greenberg’s Ashdod squad held the visitors to only nine points in the third quarter and outscored the opposition 45-26 over the final 20 minutes to notch the victory.
Paul Stoll led Ashdod with 21 points and 10 assists while Lior Eliyahu added 20 points and nine rebounds in the win. T.J. Cline was Holon’s top scorer with 19 points while Troy Caupain had 14 points in the loss.
Elsewhere, Ironi Nahariya dropped Ness Ziona 88-83, thanks to a 24-13 third quarter, to help Danny Franco’s squad to inch further up in the standings.
With NFL veteran, five-time Pro Bowl defensive end Ndamukong Suh in attendance to watch his good friend Dominic Waters, the Nahariya floor general didn’t disappoint as he notched a double-double with 14 points and seven assists. Jerel McNeal added 22 points and Egor Koulechov chipped in with 14 points for Nahariya in the win.
J.P. Tokoto, who was making his return to the Israeli league, did so in fine fashion with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Ness Ziona in a losing effort.
Gregory Vargas recorded a triple-double to lead Maccabi Haifa over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 93-84.
The Greens, who were without James Young, took advantage of Vargas’s 16 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists to notch the victory, which also saw rising star Roman Sorkin go 6-for-6 from three-point range on his way to 22 points. Jarmar Gulley scored 25 points for Gilboa/Galil in the loss.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion downed Hapoel Beersheba 80-72 as Guy Goodes’s Rishon side readies for a State Cup semifinal date with Hapoel Jerusalem next week.
Adam Ariel starred for Rishon with 21 points while James Kelly added 12 points in the win. T.J. Williams was the Beersheba high scorer with 21 points in defeat.