Derby delight for 1st-place yellow-and-blue

Maccabi beats Hapoel in first TA duel at Einstein Arena, making it 11 straight league wins.

Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Devin Smith (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Devin Smith
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
It may not have been a 20-point win, but Maccabi Tel Aviv nevertheless avenged its defeat to Hapoel Tel Aviv earlier this season by claiming a 79-76 victory in the derby on Monday.
Hapoel recorded its biggest-ever win on the road over the yellowand- blue in November, notching a 78-58 triumph at Yad Eliyahu Arena. Monday’s showdown was far tighter, but Maccabi always looked in control and registered its 11th consecutive win since that loss in the derby, to improve its BSL-best record to 15-2.
Jeremy Pargo and Brian Randle had 17 points each for Maccabi, which crucially took 11 offensive boards.
“We did our job,” said Maccabi coach Guy Goodes. “This is a tough place to play, but every player did their part and I’m happy we got this win.”
Yancy Gates scored 19 points for Hapoel, which saw its threegame winning streak snapped and dropped to 10-7.
Maccabi had an eight-point advantage (23-15) after 10 minutes, and despite leading throughout the first half, only took a fivepoint gap (42-37) into the break.
The yellow-and-blue quickly increased its lead to double digits (48-37), but an 11-0 Hapoel run tied the score and ignited the crowd, with Larry O’Bannon’s three-pointer capping the surge midway through the third quarter.
Jeronne Maymon’s basket gave the hosts their first lead of the night (55-54) with 2:26 minutes to play in the frame, but it was Maccabi which had the edge (60- 58) entering the final quarter.
Maccabi maintained a slender cushion throughout the fourth quarter, with a Devin Smith three with 1:53 remaining – after the yellow-and-blue grabbed two offensive boards – opening an eight-point margin (75-67).
An O’Bannon triple brought Hapoel within three points (75- 72) with one minute to play, but the hosts came no closer.
Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa continued its recent momentum with a fourth win from its past five games, beating the sorry Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 86-76. Haifa took a 13-point gap (53-40) into the halftime break, but Gilboa moved within just five points (76- 71) midway through the fourth quarter, only to nevertheless drop to a fifth consecutive loss.
Rene Rougeau led Haifa (8-9) with 22 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists, with Anthony Goods scoring 17 points for Gilboa (5-12).
Rock-bottom Maccabi Ashdod (4-13) is just one game behind Gilboa after beating Ironi Nahariya 102-95 in overtime in Tzvika Sherf’s first game at the helm.
Ivan Aska was superb with 25 points and 13 rebounds for Ashdod, with Mark Lyons finishing with 32 points and eight assists for Nahariya.
Hapoel Eilat improved to 8-9 on Monday with an easier-than-expected 80-62 victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion (10-7).
Elishay Kadir had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Eilat, which took a 12-point margin into the second period and never looked back. Jeremis Smith scored 17 points for Rishon.