Holon ousted in Champions League quarters

The upstart Israeli squad was unable to match the Spanish League ACB team as veteran guards Vitor Benite and Alex Renfroe orchestrated the offense and did as they pleased.

HAPOEL HOLON’S C.J. Harris played hurt last night in the Champions League quarterfinals, and he was ineffective in the Israeli club’s 86-77 defeat to Burgos. (photo credit: DOV HALICKMAN/COURTESY)
HAPOEL HOLON’S C.J. Harris played hurt last night in the Champions League quarterfinals, and he was ineffective in the Israeli club’s 86-77 defeat to Burgos.
(photo credit: DOV HALICKMAN/COURTESY)
Hapoel Holon fell to San Pablo Burgos 86-77 on Thursday night as its Basketball Champions League campaign came to an end at the Final 8 of the competition in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.
The upstart Israeli squad was unable to match the Spanish League ACB team as veteran guards Vitor Benite (26 points) and Alex Renfroe (14 points and nine assists) orchestrated the offense and did as they pleased against Stefanos Dedas’s side, which saw Isaiah Miles score 23 points in the defeat.
Hapoel Holon came firing on all cylinders as it scored from long distance early and often, with forward Miles leading the way with 13 points over the course of the first two quarters to cancel out Renfroe and Benite’s efforts to take a 39-35 lead into halftime.
The second half saw the tide turn for Burgos as big men Dejan Kravic and Jasiel Rivero got to work in the paint, with Renfroe and Benite finding room on the perimeter to operate.
Just as Holon tried to make a last-ditch effort late in the fourth quarter,Dedas was ejected after receiving a second technical foul as Burgos wrapped up the nine-point victory to advance to the semifinals, where it will play Strasbourg.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Haifa 85-76 to get the third round of Israeli Winner League games started off with a win.
The Carmel Reds took the game right to the yellow-and-blue from the outset and took a 54-39 lead at halftime on the strength of guard Keenan Evans’s 19 points.
However, Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad clamped down on defense, allowing only 22 points over the final 20 minutes as Scottie Wilbekin took the bull by the horns to lead Maccabi to the victory.
Wilbekin led all scorers with 25 points, Elijah Bryant added 15 points and Ante Zizic chipped in with 14 points in the win. Evans scored 21 points to lead Haifa, Amit Simhon checked in with 13 points and Rakeem Buckles added 12 points in the defeat.
“We didn’t start the game well as we wanted and we didn’t follow the plan. We allowed our opponent to score 54 points with great percentages and our defense was very soft. This made our life more difficult,” said Maccabi coach Sfairopoulos.
“The players played defense and held Haifa to 22 points in 20 minutes less than in the first quarter alone. Everyone has to come ready to follow the plan. I’m happy that we won and saw effort. It’s not easy to come back from 15 points down on your home court.”
Haifa coach Elad Hasin was proud of his team despite the loss.
“I have to credit my guys, they battled like men,” said Hasin following the game. “I’m less satisfied with the officiating and I never in my life saw seven minutes where there was no foul. It’s hard to play like that.”
Meanwhile, Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Bnei Herzliya 82-79 in a tight game that went all the way down to the wire as both teams are battling against relegation to the second division.
The Reds held an early halftime lead thanks to strong play by JP Tokoto and Tyrique Jones along with Justin Tillman as Danny Franco’s squad was able to hold off Elijah Thomas and Max Heidegger, who missed a last gasp three-point attempt at the buzzer.
Tokoto had a stellar performance with 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists, Tyrique Jones added 15 points and nine rebounds, Tillman scored 13 points and Paul Stoll chipped in with 11 points and seven assists.
Thomas led Sharon Drucker’s team with 21 points, Heidegger added 18 points and Coty Clarke ended the game with 14 points in the defeat.
“I’m very happy with the final result,” said Franco. “It wasn’t a great game to watch and we came into the fame with injuries. However, at the end of the game we were able to stay in front. Herzliya was able to punish in areas of the game that we weren’t that good in.”
“We came up short in the small details,” explained Drucker. “They made some big baskets, but we defended well and didn’t turn over the ball. The toughest team will be the one who will stay in the league and avoid relegation. There are five more games in less than three weeks and we have to give it our all.”
The star of the show, Tokoto, was all smiles following the victory.
“It was a testament to our defensive ability. The atmosphere is the biggest thing for me, playing with the fans is great and I’m able to bring things to the table that helps the team win.”
Down south, Hapoel Jerusalem sunk Hapoel Eilat 96-79 by the Red Sea as coach Yonatan Alon notched his first win in charge of the capital city squad.
The hosts jumped out to an early lead, but the Reds came storming back to tie the game up at 47 by halftime. Suleiman Braimoh then went to work to start off the second half with a trio of triples to help Jerusalem cruise to the win and break a four-game losing streak.
Braimoh scored 23 points, TaShawn Thomas added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Stanton Kidd chipped in with 14 points. Eilat’s Casey Prather led all scorers with 28 points while Markel Brown scored 17 points in the defeat.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Rishon Lezion blew away Maccabi Haifa 113-83 in a game that was never in doubt from the get-go.
Veteran point guard Jeremy Pargo scored early and often to pace Guy Goodes’s team to the easy win. Pargo led all scorers with 22 points, Akil Mitchell added 13 points, Noam Dovrat scored 12 points and Noam Avivi checked in with a 10 point-11 rebound double-double.
Roman Rubinstein scored 19 points and Michael Cobbins added 12 points for Haifa in the tough defeat.
Also, Ness Ziona downed last-place Ironi Nahariya 105-91 as Brad Greenberg’s team looked to move closer to clinching a postseason berth.
Nimrod Levi led the way with 27 points and eight rebounds, Patrick Miller recorded a double-double with 21 points and 11 assists and Wayne Selden scored 17 points in the victory.
Jaron Blossomgame scored a career-high 37 points for Nahariya and Michael Young added 22 points in a losing cause.