Hapoel Galil Elyon gave Maccabi Tel Aviv all that it could handle in their Israel Winner League duel before the yellow-and-blue buckled down to squeak out an 88-84 win in overtime.
The hosts took it right to Maccabi from the get-go, with strong play by Nimrod Levi and Chavaughn Lewis, to open up a 16-point lead. However, Ante Zizic and Keenan Evans kept Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad in the game and it was able to knot it up by the end of the third quarter as well as by the end of regulation time at 73-73.
Ike Iroegbu and Gaby Chachashvili caused problems for Maccabi down the stretch, but as the time ticked off of the clock, Scottie Wilbekin and Jake Cohen went from deep to give the visitors the dramatic four-point win.
Zizic led the way for Maccabi with 24 points and 13 rebounds, Wilbekin added 16 points, Cohen scored 13 points and grabbed 11 boards while Evans chipped in with 13 points and six assists in the win.
Lewis was the high scorer for Barak Peleg’s squad with 22 points, Iroegbu added 19 points, Levi put in 17 points and Chachashvili scored 13 points and took 13 rebounds in the loss.
“We didn’t start the game well and we were not focused defensively,” Sfairopoulos said following the game. “We made mistakes on defense and they scored easy points. But in the overtime, we showed our big heart and fighting spirit, we fought until the end and notched a very important win.”
Galil Elyon coach Barak Peleg looked at the positives from his side’s defeat.
“I have to take the fight as well as the heart and soul of the players who came here to battle against Maccabi. We don’t give in to any team. There will be losses and big wins and we have a great fan base that is part of the fabric of the club.”
Meanwhile, visiting Hapoel Jerusalem blew away Ness Ziona 78-56 as all cylinders were clicking on both ends of the court to record the win.
The Reds played suffocating defense early on as Willy Workman stymied Ness Ziona’ scorers, while Suleiman Braimoh, Retin Obasohan, Sean Kilpatrick and Jalen Adams all scored in double digits to record the easy victory.
Adams led the way with 16 points, Obasohan added 13 points, Kilpatrick chipped in with 12 points and Braimoh scored 11 points in the win. Golan Gutt paced the hosts with 14 points, Diante Garrett added 12 points and Rank Bartley scored 11 points in the defeat.
“We were there for the entire 40 minutes and there were almost no defensive issues,” Jerusalem coach Yotam Halperin said following the game. “We defeated a good a team on their home court and every time you can hold a team to 56 points, you’re in good shape. In this league, any team can beat anyone else and being a title contender isn’t in our lexicon whatsoever right now.”
Ness Ziona coach Lior Lubin also reflected on his club’s play.
“This wasn’t a good offensive performance by us and, against Jerusalem, that’s just not going to be good enough. They scored 78 points and we could live with that, but we just couldn’t score. We need to find a way to get back on track.”
At the Drive-In Arena, Hapoel Tel Aviv pounded Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 89-68 as James Young led the way for the Reds in the win.
After a close 22-21 first quarter, Danny Franco’s squad pulled away and never looked back as four players scored in double figures to record the victory.
Young paced the hosts with 23 points, JP Tokoto added 12 points while Josh Owens and Idan Zalmanson each scored 10 points in the victory.
“Every coach wants to see their players leave everything on the court,” Franco stated. “Gilboa may be a young team, but they are a very good one and we won this game from our aggressiveness. Despite Gilboa having depth we were able to dictate the play and control the game.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Eilat stunned Hapoel Holon 90-72 as five Red Sea squad players scored in double digits to take the surprising 18-point win.
After a close opening quarter, Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team put the pedal to the metal and pulled away from hosts with fine performances by Israelis Joaquin Szuchman and Roi Huber.
Szuchman led the way with 22 points, Huber added 16 points, six rebounds and nine assists and Bryon Allen scored 18 points.
Rafi Meno scored 17 points to lead Holon, Michale Kyser chipped in with 12 points and newcomer Adam Smith scored 11 points in the loss.
This was a hard-fought game,” said Allen. “We knew how important this game was for us, especially playing against a great team. We played hard and fought until the last minute.”
Also, Hapoel Haifa downed Hapoel Beersheba 71-67 in a spirited affair up north as the Carmel Reds came all the way back from a 37-14 second-quarter deficit to notch the win.
Amit Suss (19 points) and Cody Demps (15 points) paced Beersheba early, but thanks to superb play by Kadeem Allen (22 points), Will Rayman (14 points) and Gregory Vargas (11 points and 8 rebounds), Elad Hasin’s Haifa side was able to take the win.
“Coach said it was gonna be a dog fight and we got punched in the face early,” Rayman said after the victory. “But we were able to bounce back and lock in on defense in the second half. This was a very important win for us.”
Bnei Herzliya drubbed Maccabi Rishon Lezion 94-64 as five players ended the game with double-digit points.
Rishon grabbed a quick 21-10 lead after 10 minutes of play, but it was all Herzliya after that as Chris Babb, Chinanu Onuaku and Shawn Dawson paced the comeback while holding the wine city squad to just 22 points in quarters two and three to take the easy win.
Rishon coach Guy Goodes was ejected midway through the second quarter as the host side’s record fell to 2-8 to remain in the league’s basement.
Dawson led all scorers with 23 points, Babb added 19 points and nine boards, Onuaku had a tremendous performance with 16 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, four steals and six blocked shots in the victory. Maurice Watson scored 13 points for Rishon and Egor Koulechov scored 11 points in the loss.