The Galilee squad, which was playing with only three foreigners, was able to take down the defending league champion with aggressive play, solid defense and responsible offense as Guy Kaplan’s club committed only four turnovers over the course of the 40 minutes to take the victory.
The yellow-and-blue led early on thanks to Keenan Evans and Jalen Reynolds, but fine play by Killeya-Jones, Michael Brisker, London Perrantes and Or Cornelius helped keep the hosts within striking distance.
Roman Sorkin tried to will Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s club to victory with key points down the stretch, but Killeya-Jones and Yotam Hanochi put the Gilboa in the lead for good to take the well-earned win.
Killeya-Jones checked in with a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds, Brisker and Ronnie Harrell scored 15 points apiece while Perrantes added 14 points in the win. Sorkin led Maccabi with 16 points, Evans chipped in with 13 points and Reynolds had 12 points in the loss.
“I think that it was more than basketball, this was a win for Haim Ohayon who passed away,” Kaplan explained. “This was a win that made us happy and it was symbolic for the entire region.”
Sfairopoulos blamed his side’s defensive struggles for the result.
“We were not ready mentally to play a tough game even though we tried to prepare for this,” he said. “We knew they would play tough against us and that many players were not concentrating. This is the reason we didn’t play good defense.”
Meanwhile, in the nation’s capital, Hapoel Jerusalem routed Hapoel Beersheba 90-72 to stay perfect early in the season.
Sean Kilpatrick filled the basket early for the Reds while Retin Obasohan and Jalen Adams also scored in bunches to help the hosts to an 18-point win.
Kilpatrick finished with 28 points, Obasohan added 16 points and Adams chipped in with 15 points for Oren Amiel’s team. Dererk Pardon and Warech scored 16 points apiece for Rami Hadar’s squad in the loss.
“We expected a tough and physical battle when you play a team coached by Rami Hadar,” said Amiel following the victory. “It doesn’t matter what day or what time you play his team. We found some joy in our game and that’s what I wanted to do to build the confidence of the players.”
Up north, Hapoel Haifa picked up its first win of the season with a 93-77 result over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The Carmel Reds started out strong as Scottie James and Kadeem Allen ran all over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the first half. However, Danny Franco’s squad answered the bell in the third quarter and came all the way back thanks to strong play by Dewan Hernandez and J’Covan Brown to pull within 56-54 midway through the frame.
But that was as close as the Tel Aviv Reds would get as Elad Hasin’s team turned on the attack with Amit Simhon and Gregory Vargas leading the way to close out the 16-point victory.James scored 23 points and grabbed eight boards, Simhon added 21 points, while Allen chipped in with 14 points and five assists in the win. Brown led the way for Tel Aviv with 17 points, Hernandez added 15 points and JP Tokoto scored 12 points in the loss.
“I was very aggressive with the players this week and as to how they were going to approach the game,” Hasin said following the game. “I have to give them a lot of credit.
The staff as well deserves this result, everyone did a great job. Our practices were intense and we translated that onto court and into the game itself.”
Elsewhere, Bnei Herzliya won its second game in a row as it downed Hapoel Eilat 86-79 in front of the home crowd.
The hosts held the lead most of the way as five players scored in double digits while both Chinanu Onuaku and Andy Van Vliet each checked in with double-doubles to secure the seven-point win.
Onuanku finished the game with 21 points and 15 rebounds, Van Vliet added 17 points and 10 boards while Chris Babb scored 13 points in the win. Joaquin Szuchman had a superb night for the Red Sea squad with 17 points and Bryon Allen added 14 points in the defeat.“We’ve gotten off to a great start so far,” Babb said following the win. “We still have a long way to go and much to improve on, but I’m very proud of how we’ve started this season. As for Chinanu Onuaku’s performance, he’s been a force in the paint. Making big plays on offense and defense. He will continue to be a huge asset for us.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Holon dropped Ness Ziona 85-73 on the road to stay perfect.
After an even first half which saw Tim Soares and Diante Garrett keep the hosts hanging around, Maurizio Buscaglia’s squad was able to pull away in the third quarter thanks to stellar play by Chris Johnson, Rafi Menco and Joe Ragland to take the 12-point victory.
Both Johnson and Menco each scored 16 points, Ragland scored 12 points and dished out nine assists as Niv Misgav added 12 points going a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc in the win. Soares, with 19 points, and Garrett, with 18, paced Lior Lubin’s team.
Also, Hapoel Galil Elyon walloped Maccabi Rishon Lezion 80-62 to win its first game back in the top league.
Barak Peleg’s squad put the pedal to the metal early and scored often as Isaiah Eisendorf dropped five triples for 15 points to get things rolling while Chavaughn Lewis (18 points), Ike Iroegbu (16 points) and Bryce Washington (12 points) also contributed to the victory. TJ Williams led Rishon with 22 points for Guy Goodes’s team.
“It’s always joyful to get your win,” said Washington. “It’s always a relief. A lot of smiles in the locker room. However, we have a lot of work to do as a unit. We will enjoy this win tonight, but on Wednesday we have to turn the page and get ready for Ness Ziona. Our record is 0-0 on Wednesday, we have to stay hungry.”