Maccabi Tel Aviv demolished Hapoel Eilat 109-57 this week in an Israel Winner League game that was never in doubt at Yad Eliyahu.
The yellow-and-blue jumped out to a quick 30-15 lead after 10 minutes of action and just continued to build on the lead from there as five players scored in double-digits, including game MVP Jarell Martin who was dominant on both the inside and outside to help Oded Katash’s team to the win.
Martin led the way with 19 points, Iftach Ziv added 13 points, Bonzie Colson checked in with 12 points while Guy Pnini dished out 10 of Maccabi’s 38 assists in the game to tie a league record in the victory. Eric Griffin paced Eilat with 15 points in the defeat.
“We quickly controlled the game and we were focused,” Katash said following the contest. “We did what we had wanted to defensively, we handed out 38 assists and split up the minutes. Most importantly, we played the right way and did not look at the score itself. As for Jarell Martin, when you are building a new team it takes some time and now you see these things coming together. He is on an upward trend which is natural.”
“There wasn’t basketball here,” interim Eilat coach Valeri Gendlin explained. “We played solid five minutes and that was it. I tried to change the defense and offense. There was no energy and we spoke about that before the game. I don’t know what is in this team and there have to be a lot of thoughts as to what to do. Do the players care? That’s a good question.”
Martin also looked back at the game.
“We are continuing to play Maccabi basketball and we said that we wouldn’t look at the scoreboard and that we would do our things, which is exactly what we did. I am working hard with confidence and I am trying to help the team improve. I am getting used to European basketball and I have to continue this way as things are coming together.”Martin
Elsewhere, Bnei Herzliya blasted Hapoel Tel Aviv 110-82 to not only take the big victory over former teammate and last year’s league MVP Chinanu Onuaku, but it also snatched the final spot in the Israel State Cup competition.
Oren Aharoni’s squad came out flying in the opening frame as Maurice Kemp and Chris Babb led the way to a 32-11 lead while Sandy Cohen, Andy Van Vliet and Julian Gamble all continued to find the basket with ease to take the 28-point victory.
Kemp with 29 points led the way, Van Vliet added 24 points, Cohen chipped in with 16 points and Gamble scored 13 points in the win. Xavier Munford paced the Reds with 24 points, Jordan McRae added 14 points and Tomer Ginat scored 13 points in the loss.
“We defended well and right from the start the players were focused,” Aharoni began. “We closed down the rebound on defense and we controlled the pace of play. The players are experienced and understand the importance of these types of games.”
“We didn’t play our best basketball and Herzliya came into the game very focused,” Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Danny Franco said. “We tried so many things to get back into the game, but nothing seemed to work. We didn’t play team basketball and while we are a good team, we couldn’t figure out what to do in that first quarter.”
Also, Hapoel Galil Elyon knocked off Ness Ziona 108-104 in overtime to take the important win on the road.
The hosts got off to a good start and set the tone early on as Golan Gutt, the recently returned Ronnie Harrell and Tyler Bey set the tone for Elad Hasin’s squad. But the Galilee side kept staying close and finally drew even at the end of regulation on Roi Huber’s bucket to tie the game up at 93-93.
The extra session saw Huber, Itay Moskovits, and Nimrod Levi all rise to the challenge as they outscored Ness Ziona 15-11 to take the win.
Huber scored 23 points and dished out 10 assists, Bryce Washington also out in 23 points while Levi scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Moskovits scored 16 points in the win. Jerome Meyinsee paced the hosts with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Harrell scored 20 points and Bey checked in with 18 points in the loss.
“It’s great to have everyone available, especially Huber and we are really representing Israeli basketball,” Galil Elyon coach Barak Peleg began. “I shortened the rotation and I saw some lineups that I was even unfamiliar with. Ness Ziona is a tough team to scout because they have a lot of weapons.”
“I think we really started to let the game slip away a lot earlier than just at the buzzer,” Ness Ziona coach Elad Hasin said. “We had recently come back after a long trip to Europe. They played aggressively and we spoke about that. But this is the beauty of this league. We need to win our home games. We made a lot of unforced turnovers, we have to look at that and rest up ahead of our next game.
In the lower Galilee, Hapoel Jerusalem jumped all over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and then needed to hold on to chalk up a 77-71 victory at Gan Ner.
The Reds came out flying as Zach Hankins, Or Cornelius and Speedy Smith helped Aleksandar Dzikic’s team build up a 48-29 lead at halftime. But, the hosts began to chip away at the lead thanks to Tre McLean and Justin Gorham. However, it was too little, too late to overcome the deficit as they fell at home by half a dozen points.
Hankins scored 16 points and added nine rebounds while Cornelius and Smith each checked in with 13 points in the win. McLean paced Gilboa with 17 points and Gorham added 11 points in the defeat.
“They played better than a team at the bottom of the league and they have a good roster,” Dzikic said. “It’s super hard to play these types of games when they were down by 20 points in the second half and they have no pressure. These types of things are always dangerous. When we are focused it’s not the easiest to play against us and when we are not we are average.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Holon downed Hapoel Beersheba 92-77 as CJ Harris made his season debut for Guy Goodes’s squad.
The purples got off to a good start as they grabbed a 26-13 lead after the first quarter as Hayden Dalton, who had not been dressed of late for Israeli league games, came out and put up 25 points as they never looked back to capture the victory.
Joe Ragland scored 21 points and dished out 11 assists while Harris added 16 points going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. David Efiyani paced the Southern Reds with 17 points while Greg Whittington and Ben Moore each scored 13 points in defeat.