Avdija, Mac TA run away from Nahariya

Jerusalem crushes Beersheba • Eilat upsets Holon • Rishon edges Ashdod • Ness Ziona drops Greens

UNDER THE watchful eye of at least one NBA scout, Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Deni Avdija (8) starred in a 86-65 victory over Ironi Nahariya on Monday night (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
UNDER THE watchful eye of at least one NBA scout, Maccabi Tel Aviv swingman Deni Avdija (8) starred in a 86-65 victory over Ironi Nahariya on Monday night
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Ironi Nahariya 86-65 late Monday night to remain perfect in Israel Winner League action. The northern squad tried to stay close to Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team, but the yellow-and-blue’s quality overwhelmed Danny Franco’s overmatched group.
Deni Avdija racked up 10 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Maccabi and Jake Cohen scored 14 points, while John DiBartolomeo chipped in with 10 points and five assists. Jerel McNeal led Nahariya with 17 points and Jeff Adrien added 14 points in the loss.
Nahariya raced out to a quick 7-0 lead as McNeal scored five points out of the gate, forcing Sfairopoulos to call an early timeout to settle his troops. McNeal continued to lead the northern squad, but Tarik Black, Cohen and a monster dunk by Avdija gave the yellow-and-blue a 20-14 lead after 10 minutes.
Tony Gaffney scored six points for Nahariya to open up the second quarter, but Cohen answered back for Maccabi to keep it in front 26-25 midway through the frame.
Omri Casspi scored a pair of buckets while Avdija used the glass to drain a jumper and sent a perfect pass to Dorsey, who slammed the ball home in front of Oklahoma City Thunder GM Sam Presti, in attendance to scout potential 2020 NBA Lottery pick Avdija, as the hosts took a 41-31 advantage into halftime. 
Avdija continued to impress with a quick three-pointer, assist and a steal for Maccabi, but a Travis Warech three and Jeff Adrien’s six points kept Franco’s team hanging around. But Avdija threw down another dunk while John DiBartolomeo hit a jumper and a three-pointer to send Maccabi into the fourth quarter ahead 62-50.
Elijah Bryant scored a pair of buckets and Yovel Zoosman dunked off a steal to open the final frame, while DiBartolomeo and Cohen continued to score Tel Aviv kept increasing the lead to run away with the 21-point victory.
“We had a very good game today and played very well on defense allowing only 65 points,” said a satisfied Sfairopoulos. “We moved the ball well and had very good cooperation between the players. We kept Nahariya’s main players at bay and that’s why they scored so few points.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Jerusalem downed Hapoel Beersheba 108-74 as seven of Oded Katash’s players scored in double digits in the blowout win.
Both squads came out of the gate on fire, but host Jerusalem began to pull away midway through the second quarter and never looked back in the 34 point victory.
Bar Timor had 12 points, six assists and six rebounds for Jerusalem, Tamir Blatt added 16 points and James Feldeine chipped in with 15 points. Spencer Weisz led Beersheba with 21 points, John Petrucelli scored 20 points (hitting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc) and TJ Williams scored 16 points in the defeat.
Beersheba’s Da’Sean Butler was welcomed back by the Jerusalm faithful after playing for the Reds last season and promptly led his new squad into battle along with Weisz and Williams. But Jerusalem matched them point for point in the early going thanks to Blatt, Idan Zalmanson, Trent Lockett and Feldeine as the host held a slim 29-27 lead after 10 minutes.
Timor got into the action early on in the second quarter with a steal and layup while Lockett hit a triple to increase the Jerusalem advantage to 39-32 midway through the frame.
Petrucelli got hot for Rami Hadar’s squad, however Katash’s crew owned the last couple of minutes of the half to go into the break up 53-39.
Blatt and Lockett each nailed threes to open the third quarter as Petrucelli responded for the southern side, but the Jerusalem lead kept growing as the Reds held a 85-62 advantage after three quarters.
Feldeine and Petrucelli traded three-pointers to start the fourth, with Blatt and Thomas continuing to score at will for the hosts to round out the resounding 34-point win.
“I was afraid that we wouldn’t come into this game well and we began by giving up 27 points in the first quarter,” said Katash. “But we reduced that to 12 points in the second quarter and we played solid defense the rest of the game.”
Also, Hapoel Eilat shocked Hapoel Holon 90-81 as the Red Sea City squad picked up a hard-earned victory.
Rafi Menco set his career high with 24 points for Eilat, while Latavious Williams led Sharon Drucker’s team with 14 points and 10 rebounds, with 36-year-old Guy Pnini chipping in with 11 points in the loss.
Following the game Holon added guard Troy Caupain, who played part of last season with the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Rishon Lezion snuck by Maccabi Ashdod 67-66 thanks to Jordan Swing’s game-winner with 40 seconds left in game at Beit Maccabi.
Swing was the star of the show for Guy Goodes’s squad with 22 points and 12 rebounds as Ashdod has now lost back-to-back one-point games.
Ness Ziona slipped by Maccabi Haifa 87-84 as the visitors jumped out to a 27-12 first-quarter lead before hanging on for the tight triumph.
Corey Fisher was the high scorer for Nadav Zilberstein’s team with 20 points and seven assists as Jeff Withey once again recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Former Boston Celtics draft pick James Young led the Greens with 26 points in defeat.