Busy week for Israel's basketball and soccer leagues

Hapoel Jerusalem, Mac TA victorious in continental play • Haifa ousts Uhm El Fahem in State Cup

TYLER DORSEY helped Maccabi Tel Aviv get past Barcelona this week in the Euroleague. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
TYLER DORSEY helped Maccabi Tel Aviv get past Barcelona this week in the Euroleague.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
There was plenty of midweek action on both basketball courts and soccer pitches across the country as Israeli hoops teams featured in European play while the soccer sides played Israel State Cup round-of-16 clashes.
In the gym, Hapoel Jerusalem won a hard-fought battle against Anwil Wloclawek 107-102 in Poland to retake first place in Champions League Group B with an 8-3 record.
In a game that featured very little defense, Jerusalem knocked down 17 three-pointers including a pair of huge triples by James Feldeine and J’Covan Brown as the clock wound to secured the victory.
John Holland scored 25 points to lead Jerusalem, Feldeine and TaShawn Thomas each notched 23 points and Brown added 21 points and 10 assists in the win. Former NBA star Tony Wroten put on a show with 28 points, Ricky Ledo chipped in with 21 points and Shawn Jones scored 18 points for Anwil.
Anwil opened up the game strong with points by Rolands Freimanis and Ledo but threes from Holland, Feldeine and Tamir Blatt kept the game close midway through the first quarter. Chris Dowe hit a jumper in the lane and put down a mega dunk off an inbounds pass for the hosts, but Holland continued to hit his triples, keeping Hapoel to within three points (30-27) after 10 minutes.
Wroten got into the act with points and assists alongside Freimanis to increase the Anwil lead to 42-36 with five minutes remaining in the second quarter. Brown, Feldeine and Holland kept scoring for Oded Katash’s squad, but dunks by Jones and Freimanis, along with layups by Wroten and Ledo, kept Anwil ahead 58-54 at halftime.
Thomas, Brown and Feldeine led Jerusalem on a 14-3 run to open the third quarter and Hapoel grabbed a 68-61 lead midway through the frame. However, the quartet of Jones, Freimanis, Wroten and Dowe chipped away at the Reds advantage and Anwil retook the lead 76-75 at the end of 30 minutes of action.
Feldeine scored a quick five points out of the gate for Jerusalem in the final frame, but Wroten drained 10 points and added two assists as Anwil held on to a 92-87 lead with 5:14 left in regulation time.
The Reds finally drew even at 98 apiece with a deep Feldeine triple and Brown hit one as well to give Jerusalem the tight five-point road conquest and first place in its Champions League group.
“That was a really tough one,” said a relieved Katash. “We were struggling defensively for 30 minutes except for some minutes in the third quarter. We are better than that defensively, but at the end of the day our offense won the game for us.”
In other Champions League action, Hapoel Holon downed SIG Strasbourg 101-94 to keep its playoff aspirations alive. Coach Stefanos Dedas’s squad used a big third quarter to seal the win and move its record to 5-6, good for fifth place in the eight-team group.
With three games remaining, two of which on the road at top two sides in the group Manresa and Sassari, Holon will still need to win at least a pair of the contests with the final group clash at home against Liekabelis.
Marcus Foster led the way for Holon with 22 points, while T.J. Cline added 18 points in the victory.
Over in Euroleague play, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Barcelona 92-85 thanks to sharp shooting from Scottie Wilbekin in first half and Tyler Dorsey in the second. But it was Angelo Caloiaro’s huge fourth quarter that led the yellow-and-blue to the victory.
The win moves Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to 13-6 in continental action, while Svetislav Pesic’s team dropped to the identical record after 19 games.
Dorsey led Maccabi with 19 points, Wilbekin added 18 points while Caloiaro and Othello Hunter each scored 12 points in the win. Nikola Mirotic was the high scorer for Barcelona with 22 points and 10 rebounds as Cory Higgins and Malcolm Delaney scored 13 points apiece.
“I am having fun,” said Sfairopoulos. “It is amazing, these fans are unbelievable. They support us every game, they always show up and it is a lot of fun to play in front of them. It shows: we play a lot better in front of them.”
Maccabi Haifa dispatched Uhm El Fahem from the State Cup with a 1-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals. (Credit: Maor Elkasali)Maccabi Haifa dispatched Uhm El Fahem from the State Cup with a 1-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals. (Credit: Maor Elkasali)
In State Cup soccer action on the local pitches, Maccabi Haifa slipped by surprise package Uhm El Fahem 1-0 as embattled rising star Yarden Shua scored a second-half goal to advance the Greens to the quarterfinals.
Uhm El Fahem had shocked Maccabi Tel Aviv in the round-of-32 but couldn’t repeat the feat in a game that was played at the Afula Stadium.
“The important thing was to make sure to advance,” said Haifa coach Marko Balbul. “This was a tough away game and we had some chances in the first half and although I wasn’t happy with how we played in the second half, we had a bit of luck and moved on.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped Bnei Sakhnin 3-0 as Stefan Spirovski, Moti Barshazki and newcomer Felipe Jorge Rodriguez all found the back of the net to move on in the competition.
“We were a bit concerned about this game,” explained Reds coach Nir Klinger. “But we came in focused on the task at hand and the players were all-in as we played correctly. We scored three nice goals and we moved on.”
In other action, Maccabi Petah Tikva needed an 89th-minute goal by Evandro Brandao to get by Hapoel Nof HaGalil 1-0, Bnei Yehuda beat Hapoel Afula 1-0 on a strike by Matija Ljujic, Gidi Kanuk scored a second-minute goal to help Hapoel Haifa down Kfar Kasem 1-0, while Hapoel Ra’anana crushed Adumim Ashdod 4-2.