Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Galil Elyon 81-65 on Sunday night in Israel Winner League action thanks to a well-balanced attack by the Reds offense to notch the win.
Yotam Halperin’s squad grabbed a 23-16 lead after 10 minutes as John Ugbunu scored at will inside to set the tone as Suleiman Braimoh, Retin Obasohan and Noam Dovrat filled the basket to finish off with the 16-point win.
Obasohan led the way with an 18 point-11 assist double-double, Dovrat added 16 points while Briamoh and Ugbunu each scored 12 points in the win. Nimrod Levi scored 23 points for Galil, Ike Iroegbu chipped in with 18 points and Chavaughn Lewis scored 10 points in the loss.
“We played a good game and we only gave up 65 points which was the key and that will be the key all season long,” Halperin explained. “The guys were intense and that is how we have to play. There are ups and downs throughout the season and we have to get back into our system.”
Dovrat, who joined the club a couple of months ago, arguably had his best game with the Reds,” “This was a tough and close game against a very good team. In the middle of the third quarter, we started to play better defense and we created a bigger gap. I’m happy that we were able to win this game and we have to keep taking it one game at a time.”
By the Red Sea, Maccabi Tel Aviv sunk Hapoel Eilat 77-66 at the Red Sea City in a game that was never close as the yellow-and-blue, under interim coach Avi Even, recorded the victory after falling to Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Israel State Cup semifinal.
John DiBartolomeo, along with centers Ante Zizic and Jalen Reynolds, found easy points early on to go up 43-25 after 20 minutes of action as Scottie Wilbekin and Khyri Thomas made sure that Maccabi would head back to Tel Aviv with the victory.
DiBartolomeo led the way with 15 points, Zizic recorded a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds while Wilbekin scored 12 points in the win. Bryon Allen paced Eilat with 20 points and Toney Douglas added 16 points in the defeat.
“Every win is important,” Even said following the win. “Everything that has happened can influence us one way or another, but I am happy that we were able to put these things to the side and win the game. I wanted to add some new things and that is what we did. Right now it’s time to look ahead to the next game against Anadolu EFES in Turkey.”
DiBartolomeo, the club’s captain, also spoke about the win.
“We played a solid first half on both sides of the court and got good looks on offense and were patient. On defense we played with energy and aggressiveness and protected our hoop and we came out with a much needed victory.”Up north in the Galilee, Hapoel Holon downed Hapoel Gilboa Galil 81-74 as Chris Johnson had a superb all-around game to lead Guy Goodes’s squad to the win.
The hosts jumped out to a 20-17 lead after 10 minutes, but Johnson along with Michale Kyser, Tyrus McGee and Rafi Menco took control of the game to help the Purples to the victory.
Johnson led the way with 24 points, eight rebounds and six steals, McGee and Menco each scored 16 points while Kyser added 15 points and nine boards in the win.
London Perrantes paced Gilboa with 22 points, Or Cornelius chipped in with 14 points and Tyus Battle scored 12 points in the defeat.“We knew it was going to be a tough and a high tempo game,” Kyser explained. “We had to follow coach’s game plan, excuse and finish what we needed to do.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Haifa just nipped Bnei Herzliya 81-80 in a thriller up north by the Carmel Mountain.Herzliya came into the game fresh off of their Israel State Cup victory, but the hosts took the bull by the horns early playing Oren Aharoni’s squad tough from the get-go as Elad Hasin’s team grabbed a slim 47-45 lead at halftime.
The second half continued to be a back-and-forth affair with Amit Simhon and Spencer Weisz carrying the bulk of the skirting load for Haifa while Chinanu Onuaku and Chris Babb did the same for Herzliya.
But Kadeem Allen found the winning basket to give the Refs the dramatic one-point victory.
Simhon led all scorers with 23 points, Weisz added 13 points and Gregory Vargas scored 12 points and dished out eight assists in the win. Babb scored 17 points, Onuaku added 16 points and Van Vliet scored 13 points in the defeat.
“This was a tough game against an excellent team,” Simhon said. “But I’m happy we were able to take the win, which will give us some momentum heading into the international break. On a personal level, I’m thrilled that my shits went in and that my teammates found me for those opportunities.”
Meanwhile, Ness Ziona ran all over Hapoel Beersheba 88-72 in the southern capital as big man Tim Soares scored at will to help the visitors to the double-digit win.
After an even first quarter, Lior Lubin’s team moved into fifth gear as it ran the hosts off of the floor with tremendous play from guards Frank Bartley, Diante Garrett and Golan Gutt to go along with Soares, who scored in the paint to cruise to the win.
Soares led the way with 24 points, Garrett and Bartley each checked in with 18 points and Gutt added 16 points in the win. Dererk Pardon scored 20 points for Beersheba while Amir Bell and Junior Etou each added 18 points in the loss.
“We played with great energy on both sides of the ball,” Bartley said after the win. “We shared the ball and defended at a high level. I think when we play like that, we are really tough to beat. This was a good step in the right direction for us.”
Also, Hapoel Tel Aviv downed Maccabi Rishon Lezion 77-62 as the Reds got back on track after falling to Bnei Herzliya in the State Cup final.
Danny Franco’s team used tough defense over the opening quarter as JP Tokoto and James Young set the tone early to help Hapoel cruise to the 15-point victory at Beit Maccabi.
Tokoto and Young each scored 21 points, while Idan Zalmanson added eight points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Caleb Wesson led the way for Rishon with 19 points and 13 boards, Tu Holloway added 16 points and Anthony Brown chipped in with 11 points in the loss.