Hapoel Tel Aviv just got by Ness Ziona 102-97 in overtime this week in Israel Winner League action as Jordan McRae scored all of his 24 points after the first half to lead the way for the Reds to the tough win.
With the victory, Danny Franco’s squad moved its record to 12-2 on the season as it remains in first place and will now ready for a EuroCup road trip to Italy for a date with Trento.
Chinanu Onuaku along with Xavier Munford, Tomer Ginat and Bar Timor helped Hapoel to a 38-31 halftime lead, but Jerome Meyinsee on the inside and Ronnie Harrell from the outside were able to push the hosts ahead 59-57 by the end of the third quarter.
Jordan McRae on fire
McRae caught fire and scored every which way for the Reds to send the game into the extra session tied at 90, and the swingman kept scoring at will while Munford nailed a big three-pointer down the stretch to notch the victory.
McRae led the way with 24 points, Munford scored 19 points, Ginat added 18 points and Onuaku recorded a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds in the win. Meyinsee paced Ness Ziona with 28 points, Harrell scored 22 points and Raz Adam chipped in with 14 points in the loss.
“I’m very happy that we won,” Franco began after the win. “A team needs to know how to find a way to win a game like this. This was an important win and we are trying to make sure we stay where we are in the standings. Everyone wants to beat us, but when you are in first place you have to play differently as you want to keep your spot in the standings.”
“It was a good game with a lot of lead changes and I’m very proud as to how we played as we were missing some players. It wasn’t the result we wanted but it was the way we played which I am content about. We played without size and with foul issues so I have to take off my hat to the guys.”Elad Hasin
“It was a good game with a lot of lead changes and I’m very proud as to how we played as we were missing some players,” Ness Ziona coach Elad Hasin explained. “It wasn’t the result we wanted but it was the way we played which I am content about. We played without size and with foul issues so I have to take off my hat to the guys.”
By the Rea Sea, Hapoel Jerusalem cruised to the 83-60 win over Hapoel Eilat in a game that was never in doubt from the get-go.
Zach Hankins was a power all game long inside for the Reds as he scored at will time and again in a game that also saw youngster Noam Yaacov make his Israeli league debut as he dished out a team high seven assists in the victory.
Hankins was a power in the paint and Khadeen Carrington added points as well thanks to fine point guard play by Speedy Smith and 18-year-old Yaacov to give Hapoel Jerusalem a 45-33 lead at halftime. Hankins continued to dominate play inside while Mareks Mejeris and Or Cornelius also filled the basket as did Carrington in the easy win.
Hankins led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carrington added 14 points and Mejeris scored 11 points in the win. Emanuel Lecomte paced Eilat with 17 points and Jared Terrell added 14 points in the loss.
The game’s MVP, Hankins, also reflected.
“We knew it was a tough place to play and they are a talented team, and we knew we had to come out stronger than we had been. My guys were finding me in rotation really easily and they were able to pick apart their defensive scheme.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv fights off Ironi Kiryat Ata
Up north, Maccabi Tel Aviv fought off feisty Ironi Kiryat Ata to take a 100-88 win to get back on the winning track.
The hosts got off to a good start as Chavaughn Lewis got hot early to give Sharon Avrahami’s team a 47-41 lead at halftime. But Iftach Ziv, Jake Cohen and Roman Sorkin began to find the basket in the third quarter to put the yellow-and-blue in front for gold as it took the 12-point victory.
Ziv paced Maccabi with 16 points, Jake Cohen added 15 points, while Wade Baldwin, Roman Sorkin and Darren Hilliard all checked in with 11 points in the win. Lewis led all scorers with 29 points, Juvonte Reddic, Diante Garrett and Amin Stevens all had 13 points in the loss.
“This was a very tough game and we were very tired,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash began. “But the players found the energy and as a coach I needed to help them do just that. It’s not easy to play with such a grueling schedule and this week is not easy mentally and physically. But I am happy as to how the players reacted at the end of the day to get the win.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Holon downed Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 96-89, Gilboa’s 11th straight loss, as five players for the purples scored in double figures to take the win.
Guy Goodes’s squad went 15-of-26 from deep, and was able to build up a large lead (53-38) by halftime. But Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team was able to come back and cut the lead down to just three points late in the game, before Joe Ragland was able to help Holon to the victory.
“You can never think that a game will be easy in this league,” Goodes said. “We had a good second quarter and a poor third and we have a lot to improve. We did our best and now we have to look at the next game. We weren’t as focussed perhaps and maybe we were a bit tired after halftime, but at the end of the day we were able to take the win.”
Hapoel Beersheba traveled up north to the Carmel Mountain and took home a 93-77 win over Hapoel Haifa as David Efiyani went off for 26 of his 31 points in the second half to lead Lior Lubin’s team to the victory.
Ben Moore added 21 points and Egor Koulechov scored 12 points for the Southern Reds while Kadeem Allen scored 20 points and Shawn Jones chipped in with 16 points in the defeat.
“We really worked very hard on defense and we focussed on that throughout the game,” Beersheba coach Lior Lubin explained. “We were able to really get to the rebounds and close out some of their dangerous players which translated to the win. As for David, he is becoming the player that we wanted to see. He’s taking more and more responsibility and is going through a good period of time.”
Efiyani also spoke about the game.
“I just tried to be aggressive and took advantage with the defensive switches. Once I started to get my shots going and I saw the rim things went in. But it’s all about the aggressiveness. But defense was the key and when we play it at a high level we can compete with anybody.”
Also, Hapoel Galil Elyon dominated Bnei Herzliya 87-68 as Israeli guard Roi Huber led the charge all game long with 21 points to send the Galilee side to the win.
Maurice Kemp countered for Herzliya with 17 points, but once Chris Babb went out injured Barak Peleg and his squad went all out to capture the victory.
Huber spoke about the victory.
“It was a big win and we understood the importance of this game if we want to make it into the championship playoffs. This is a tough place to play where many big clubs have lost. We have some very talented players and on offense we look to take the best shots.”