Maccabi Tel Aviv outlasts Hapoel Haifa in 2OT

Herzliya stays hot by beating Holon • Hap TA tops Gilboa • Galil Elyon upsets Jerusalem

 MACCABI TEL AVIV teammates Bonzie Colson and Jalen Adams (right) combined for 51 points in the 108-104 double-overtime victory over Hapoel Haifa. (photo credit: YEHUDA HALICKMAN)
MACCABI TEL AVIV teammates Bonzie Colson and Jalen Adams (right) combined for 51 points in the 108-104 double-overtime victory over Hapoel Haifa.
(photo credit: YEHUDA HALICKMAN)

It took 50 minutes, but Maccabi Tel Aviv finally downed a short-handed Hapoel Haifa 108-104 this week in one of the most dramatic Israeli league games of the season.

The yellow-and-blue will now prepare for a Euroleague double week at home against Partizan Belgrade on Wednesday and at Panathinaikos on Friday, which will be followed up by a State Cup clash against Bnei Herzliya early next week.

The Carmel Reds came out flying in the first half as Kadeem Allen, Anthony Hickey and Devonte Upson controlled the pace of play to grab a 55-41 lead. However, Tel Aviv’s Jalen Adams and Bonzie Colson scored at will over the course of the second half to knot the game up at 88-88 at the end of regulation time.

The first extra session saw a repeat of the opening 40 minutes as Hickey and Allen scored for Haifa while Adams and Colson countered for Maccabi as the contest headed into the second overtime tied up at 97-97.

Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oded Katash (credit: Dov Halickman)Picture of Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Oded Katash (credit: Dov Halickman)

However, without Allen and Upson, who had fouled out, Maccabi hit its free-throws down the stretch as Hickey tried valiantly to will Haifa to the win, but his late game baskets weren’t enough as the yellow-and-blue took the win.

Adams led the way for Maccabi with 26 points, Colson added 25 points while Roman Sorkin and Josh Nebo each scored 12 points in the win. Hickey paced Haifa with 30 points, Allen added 22 points and Upson checked in with 21 points in the loss.

“It’s hard to sum up this game,” an exhausted Oded Katash began after midnight. “We felt from the start of the game that we were very tense after coming back from Madrid and the game against Haifa last week didn’t help us prepare for this one. We gave up 55 points in the first half, we didn’t use our fouls and we weren’t focused as Haifa came in with nothing to lose. In the second half, we came back but we didn’t expect to have players play so many minutes in this game. We battled and the best thing that can be taken away from this game is the win.”

“I’ve been in this profession for many years,” a disappointed Sharon Drucker said. “You play well and control most of the game but it ended the way it did, with a loss. It was a great game and we did our homework after the last match at Romema less than a week ago. We now have about 40 hours until our next game in the Europe Cup.”

Colson, the contest’s MVP, explained that this was the first time he had played in such a crazy game.

“I think this would be the first time in such a game, but it was fun out there and the atmosphere was great. It showed the heart of the team and what we can do when we are down and out. It was a great win at the end of the day.”

Meanwhile, Bnei Herzliya downed Hapoel Holon 77-64 to continue their fine run of late as it now will ready for an Israel State Cup quarterfinal clash at Maccabi Tel Aviv while the Purples will welcome Hapoel Haifa on Saturday evening.

Oren Aharoni’s squad jumped out to double-digit lead by halftime thanks to Chris Babb and Quinton Hooker, but Shawn Dawson’s third quarter performance pulled Guy Goodes’s team even at 54-54 at the start of the final frame.

However, Hooker along with Maurice Kemp and Andy Van Vliet scored in bunches down the stretch as the hosts took the 13-point victory.

Hooker led the way with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Babb added 16 points while Van Vliet checked in with a 13 point and 13 rebound double-double in the win. Dawson paced Holon with 15 points, Marvin Jones added 12 points and nine rebounds while Hayden Dalton also scored 12 points in the loss.

“This was a big battle against a very good team,” Aharoni said. “We made some big stops in the fourth quarter and we were able to win the game. We were in this game because of our defense and that is what won us the game.”

Game MVP Quinton Hooker reflected on the win.

“The biggest thing was staying together as our communication picked up. We were in our spots and we were able to turn that into offense as guys hit big shots and it was an entire team effort. We knew it was going to be a battle and they are a high level team, but big games bring big performances.”

Elsewhere, Hapoel Tel Aviv gritted out an 81-71 win over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil as the Reds came back from a double-digit deficit to take the hard earned win up in Gan Ner.

Tel Aviv will now prepare to tip off against the London Lions in EuroCup play and will then welcome Hapoel Jerusalem for a State Cup contest on Sunday. Gilboa will not be participating in the State Cup but will be busy with new coach Ariel Beit Halachmi, who has taken over the reins for the struggling Galilee squad.

Payton Willis helped the hosts to a quick 30-18 advantage after the first quarter but Danny Franco’s squad began to chip away at the lead as Jordan McRae, J’Covan Brown and JP Tokoto all picked up the offense in the second half to lead the visitors to the win.

McRae scored 20 points while Brown added 11 points and nine assists and Tokoto scored 11 points as well in the victory. Willis paced Gilboa with 30 points and Justin Gorham scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the loss.

“We found our heart,” Franco began. “This game was similar to the one at Herzliya and that just can’t be. I am happy that we were able to use our depth and bringing aggressiveness and intensity to hold Gilboa to only 19 second-half points and we were able to create turnovers and take advantage of them.”

Up north, Hapoel Galil Elyon downed Hapoel Jerusalem 89-83 as Itay Moskovits broke a 82-82 tie late in the game to help his team to the win.

The capital city Reds will now get ready to face Hapoel Tel Aviv in State Cup quarterfinal play on Sunday evening.

Barak Peleg’s squad raced out to a 49-36 lead at halftime as Moskovits, Deishuan Booker and Bryce Washington led the way but Oz Blayzer battled for Jerusalem to knot the game up at 82 with 1:12 left in the final frame. However, Moskovits with a deuce and free throws wrapped up the victory for the hosts.

Moskovits led all scorers with 25 points, Washington added 18 points and Booker scored 16 points in the win. Blayzer scored 23 points and Khadeen Carrington chipped in with 16 points for Jerusalem in the loss.

“It’s never easy against a team like Hapoel Jerusalem and we came into the game with a short roster,” Peleg said. This was a big win and to be able to keep ahead by double dog it’s for so much of the game was very important for us.”

Down south, Ness Ziona got by Hapoel Eilat 80-79 as DJ Cooper, Jerome Meyinsee and Tyler Bey all scored 19 points to help the visitors to the dramatic win.

Ness Ziona will prepare for a trip to Beersheba for a State Cup date on Saturday night while Eilat is expected to name Maurizio Buscaglia as its new head coach.

Nes Ziona took an early lead, but Netanel Artzi with 19 pointed and Eric Griffin with 22 points helped the hosts get back into the game, however, the Ness Ziona trio couldn’t be stopped down the stretch while Ronnie Harrell scored a pair of free throws to give Elad Hasin’s team the hard-earned victory.

“I’m happy about the win after three losses in a row and sometimes you need to know how to take a win by the skin of your teeth,” Hasin explained. “We lost here in the WINNER Cup and I told the chairman Yaniv Mizrachi that the next time we come down here that we will leave with a win and while it was tough, that is what happened.”

Also, Hapoel Beersheba slipped by Ironi Kiryat Ata 96-95 as David Efiyani’s game-winning three-pointer handed Lior Lubin’s team the victory.

Sharon Avrahami’s Kiryat Ata squad took control of the game early on but the southern Reds, led by Greg Whittington and Ben Moore, grabbed a 52-50 lead at halftime. However, Juvonte Reddic and Diante Garrett gave the hosts the lead but Efiyani’s triple gave Beersheba the win.

Whittington paced Beersheba with 19 points, Moore added 18 points and Efiyani chipped in with 17 points in the win. Garrett led Kiryat Ata with 23 points and 10 assists, Reddic scored 17 points and Michael Brisker added 16 points in the loss.