Holon advances in Champions League

Victory over Cholet sends Israeli side to playoffs • Gilboa/Galil ousts Rishon in Balkan League

WILLY WORKMAN and Hapoel Holon progressed to the Champions League playoffs on Wednesday night. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
WILLY WORKMAN and Hapoel Holon progressed to the Champions League playoffs on Wednesday night.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Holon downed Cholet 89-71 on Wednesday night to punch its ticket to the Champions League Playoff Round, with the Israeli side finishing in first place in Group C.
Stefanos Dedas’s squad went to Maxim De Zeeuw early as the Belgian big man worked both the inside and outside while CJ Harris, Tyrus McGee and Isaiah Miles shot the lights out in the third quarter, hitting a combined seven three-pointers to allow Holon to run away with the win.
De Zeeuw led Holon with 21 points, Harris added 16 points and seven assists, McGee scored 15 points, Miles chipped in with 14 points and Willy Workman had a stellar 10 point-eight rebound effort in the win.
Gerry Blakes was Cholet’s high scorer with 22 points and Yoan Makoundou added 20 points in the loss.
“This was a historical win,” declared Dedas. “After four years Holon qualified for the top-16 for the first time, which was one of our targets. We started the second round of games with our backs against the wall, to win at Minsk and
against AEK at home to stay alive and we needed to win today. We showed character. I am very happy and excited and we showed that we deserved to win.”
Miles was all smiles after the victory.
“It was a really good game on both sides and both teams played really hard. We earned this and we deserved this. We played the right way and had fun sharing the ball. Hats off to coach, who had us prepared and we locked in and moved onto
the next round.”
In other action, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil dropped Maccabi Rishon Lezion 85-78 to advance to the next stage of the Balkan League, as it will join Holon as the Israeli representatives in the competition.
The Galilee team took the lead early in the first quarter and never looked back as it gave new head coach Avishay Gordon his first win behind the bench.
Big man Kerry Backshear (20 points and eight rebounds) and Jehyve Floyd, who scored 17 points with eight rebounds, dominated the inside while Iftach Ziv and Yotam Hanochi each added 11 points in the win.
Isaiah Taylor led Rishon with 17 points, Trey Lewis scored 13 points and Noam Avivi added 12 points in the loss.
Also, Maccabi Tel Aviv gets back to Israeli league action on Saturday when it plays Gilboa/Galil. The Galilee squad’s new head coach Avishay Gordon will have a stiff test as he takes over the reins from Lior Lubin, who joined Oded Katash
as an assistant at Panathinaikos.
Also on tap this weekend in basketball action is Maccabi Rishon Lezion hosting Hapoel Beersheba, Hapoel Eilat welcoming Bnei Herzliya and Hapoel Holon traveling to Hapoel Haifa.