Hapoel Holon storms back to upset Maccabi Tel Aviv

Hapoel Jerusalem dominates final frame to top Gilboa • Iroegbu lifts Galil Elyon with buzzer-beater.

 HAPOEL HOLON guard Niv Misgav (right) drives to the basket during his team’s 88-82 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night in Israel Winner League action. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
HAPOEL HOLON guard Niv Misgav (right) drives to the basket during his team’s 88-82 win over Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday night in Israel Winner League action.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)

Hapoel Holon defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 88-82 on Monday night in an energetic back-and-forth battle as the hosts were just a bit too much to handle for the reigning Israeli league champion.

The yellow-and-blue raced out to a 27-19 lead after the first quarter as Derrick Williams led the way, but Holon came storming back in the second frame with strong play from the game’s MVP Chris Johnson to grab a 43-40 lead at the break.

The second half saw Maurizio Buscaglia’s team in control as Joe Ragland, Niv Nisgav and Steven Gray all scored from beyond the arc while Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team struggled from deep as Holon sealed the deal to take the hard-earned victory.

Johnson scored 14 points and pulled down nine rebounds, Gray added 14 points, Ragland chipped in with 13 points and Michale Kyser put in 12 points in the win.

Williams led Maccabi with 18 points and Jalen Reynolds scored 15 points in the defeat.

 MACCABI TEL AVIV guard Scottie Wilbekin delivers a nifty behind-the-back pass during the yellow-and-blue’s 104-80 conquest of Hapoel Jerusalem over the weekend. (credit: DANNY MARON) MACCABI TEL AVIV guard Scottie Wilbekin delivers a nifty behind-the-back pass during the yellow-and-blue’s 104-80 conquest of Hapoel Jerusalem over the weekend. (credit: DANNY MARON)

“We are very happy with the win in a high-level matchup,” said Buscaglia following the win. “We spoke about desire and high energy and my players did that, getting important rebounds, playing without the ball along with sharing the ball. Every game we end up finding an advantage and we always have a next possession mentality.”

Maccabi coach Sfairopoulos also reflected on the contest.

“We didn’t have great concentration as to what we planned, especially defensively where we weren’t focused enough. We started the game with great effort and scored 27 points, but from the second quarter, we lost our concentration and let our opponents score easy points. It’s hard to win when you allow the home team to score 88 points.”

In the capital, meanwhile, Hapoel Jerusalem downed Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 80-68 thanks to a dominant fourth quarter to improve its record to 4-1 ahead of Wednesday’s critical Champions League contest.

The visitors took control of the game early, but Sean Kilpatrick’s sharp shooting from deep put the Reds in front 39-35 by halftime.

In the third quarter, Anthony Bennett made his mark from downtown as Kilpatrick continued to find the bottom of the basket and Retin Obasohan powered points inside over the final 10 minutes to lead Jerusalem on a 16-0 run to wrap up the win.

Kilpatrick led the way with 26 points, Obasohan added 19 points and Bennett checked in with 14 points in the win. Ronnie Harrell scored 15 points for Gilboa, while Michael Brisker and Or Cornelius each chipped in with 13 points in the loss.

Jerusalem’s interim head coach, Yotam Halperin, was frank about his team’s performance following the game.

“This wasn’t a good game for us and the first half was a catastrophe. We were down by 10 and then came back into the contest. To beat teams, we have to play better and we need to get to the free-throw line more frequently.”

Kilpatrick, the game’s MVP, also reflected on the victory from his point of view.

“It was a grind-out game and we could have played a lot better. But our defense in the fourth is how we must play every quarter. We have to stay together and our chemistry will continue to come together.”

Elsewhere, Hapoel Galil Elyon outlasted Hapoel Tel Aviv 99-97 as Ike Iroegbu drilled home a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer to stun the hosts.

Barak Peleg’s Galilee squad jumped all over the Reds in the first half and, with the help of Chavaughn Lewis and Nimrod Levi, took a commanding 53-38 lead into the third quarter.

But Danny Franco’s Tel Aviv squad came roaring back as J’Covan Brown dictated the pace over the final two frames to give the Reds a 90-83 lead with just under two minutes to go.

However, Iroegbu scored 11 points over the final 1:54 of the game, including the game-winning triple at the buzzer to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat.

Iroegbu scored 23 points while Levi and Lewis each scored 19 points in the win. Brown paced Hapoel with 31 points in the loss.

Iroegbu spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the dramatic victory.

“It was crazy. I had the ball and I saw that there were five seconds left and James Young was on me. I made a move that me and assistant coach Avishay Gordon practice all the time and I shot it and it went in at the buzzer. It was perhaps the wildest end I’ve been a part of. We stayed connected and came out with the win.”

Meanwhile, Ness Ziona slipped by Maccabi Rishon Lezion 89-86 in a back-and-forth battle at Beit Maccabi.

Visiting Ness Ziona opened the game well, with Frank Bartley and Diante Garrett leading the way, but Rishon came storming back as Tu Holloway and Maurice Kemp helped the hosts to the lead.

However, Lior Lubin’s squad, led by Bartley, took the bull by the horns to outscore Guy Goodes’s team over the final frame and snatched the three-point win.

Bartley scored 28 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Ness Ziona, Garrett added 22 points while Ike Nwamu and Tim Soares scored 12 points apiece in the win. Kemp scored 25 points and Holloway chipped in with 20 points in the loss.

“[This was a] great team win,” said Bartley. “We showed a lot of fight and resilience tonight. We made winning plays down the stretch and secured the win in a tough environment. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and that we’re continuing to make on a weekly basis.”

Down south, Hapoel Eilat sunk Hapoel Haifa 79-67 at the Red Sea city as Bryon Allen paced Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad to the victory.

After an even first half, Eilat outscored the Carmel Reds 21-9 in the third quarter to notch the 12-point win.

Allen led the way with 23 points, Zuf Ben Moshe added 14 points and Roi Huber scored 10 points in the win. Kadeem Allen was Haifa’s high scorer with 17 points and Scottie James added 12 points in the loss.

Also, Hapoel Beersheba downed Bnei Herzliya 91-85 as the duo of Dererk Pardon and Junior Etou scored a combined 63 points to take the win on the road.

The hosts took a 46-42 lead into halftime, but Rami Hadar’s squad played suffocating defense in the third quarter to hold Herzliya to only 12 points as it grabbed the away victory.

Etou led the way with 33 points, Pardon scored 30 points and took nine rebounds, while Cody Demps chipped in with 11 points.

Chris Babb paced Herzliya with 22 points and Quinton Hooker added 18 points in the loss.