Rishon beats Beersheba in Balkan battle

Nahariya, Hapoel Tel Aviv also victorious • Maccabi Tel Aviv falls to Olympiacos on buzzer-beating 3.

MACCABI RISHON LEZION FORWARD Akil Mitchell (left) scored a team-high 25 points to help offset a strong game by Hapoel Beersheba’s James Banks (right) in Rishon’s 96-85 victory over Beersheba in Balkan League action on Saturday night. (photo credit: DOV HALICKMAN PHOTOGRAPHY)
MACCABI RISHON LEZION FORWARD Akil Mitchell (left) scored a team-high 25 points to help offset a strong game by Hapoel Beersheba’s James Banks (right) in Rishon’s 96-85 victory over Beersheba in Balkan League action on Saturday night.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion defeated Hapoel Beersheba 96-85 on Saturday night to record its first Balkan League win. Akil 
Mitchell’s strong first half was matched by teammate Isaiah Taylor’s superb second half to lead Rishon to the victory.
Mitchell ended the contest with 25 points and eight rebounds, Taylor scored 25 points and added six assists while 
Darryl Monroe chipped in with 16 points and Golan Gutt finished with 14 points in the win.
Caleb Agada led Beersheba with 27 points, Spencer Weisz scored 15 points and added seven rebounds as James Banks 
chipped in with 14 points and nine rebounds in the loss.
Eric Griffin, Agada and Banks got Beersheba rolling early, but quick buckets by Rishon’s Taylor, Mitchell and Monroe 
gave the visitors a slight 15-14 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell kept scoring, but triples by Weisz, 
Natan Jurkovic and Agada put the Southern Reds in front 28-22 after 10 minutes.
Monroe hit a sweet jumper to get the second quarter underway while Gal Tessler and Taylor also found the bottom of the 
basket for Guy Goodes’s squad as the hosts led 36-31 with 5:28 left in the first half and took a 45-42 advantage into 
the break.
The third quarter began with Gutt and Monroe scoring from beyond the arc for Rishon, but Beersheba center Banks put in 
a pair of baskets to keep his side’s deficit to 57-51 midway through the frame.
Taylor sliced through the Beersheba defense for a layup and then drilled home a three-pointer from the left corner, but 
Tom Maayan hit a triple from the elbow to keep the game competitive with Rishon ahead 69-60 heading into the final 
Monroe and Gutt began the fourth quarter with points for Rishon, but Benny Eisenhardt and Banks scored in the paint and 
Travis Warech hit from downtown. However, young Rishon center Ido Flaisher powered points inside to keep the visitors 
in the lead 80-70 with 5:34 remaining in regulation.
More points from Taylor and Monroe were canceled out by Muhammad Abu Arisha’s fine play but it wasn’t enough for 
Beersheba as Rishon recorded the nine-point triumph.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Eilat slipped by Ironi Ness Ziona 93-90 in the Red Sea city as Ben Carter’s monster game of 24 points 
and 12 rebounds led Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad to the win.
Casey Prather added 21 points, Josh Nebo scored 14 points as both Joe Ragland and Zuf Ben Moshe each dropped 11 points 
for Eilat in the victory. Davion Berry led the way for Brad Greenberg’s team with 22 points while Kwan Cheatham added 
18 points and Patrick Miller scored 11 points in defeat.
The star of the show, Carter reflected on the win.
“This was our first game and we have been preparing for this for a while. It’s a good start with a win, but we wanted 
to finish the game a bit better. I’m proud of how hard our team fought.”
Elsewhere, Ironi Nahariya downed Maccabi Haifa 86-80 by the Carmel Mountain as Kalin Lucas starred in the win for Danny 
Franco’s squad.
Lucas scored 21 points and added six assists, Joe Alexander added 16 points and nine rebounds while Jaron Blossomgame 
chipped in with 16 points and eight boards in the win. Chris Dowe led the Greens with 22 points, Aaron Valdez chipped 
in with 15 points and veteran guard Avi Ben Chimol added 14 points for Daniel Seoane’s team.
“We managed to produce a good streak of minutes in the fourth quarter,” explained Franco. “The youngsters came off the 
bench to give some air to the players who needed to rest and come to finish the game off.”
Also, Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped Bnei Herzliya 87-78 to open its Balkan League campaign with a win.
Walter Lemon Jr. starred for the Reds with 15 points and 11 assists while Bar Timor added 16 points and Daniel 
Koperberg chipped in with 13 points for Ioannis Kastritis’s squad.
Frank Gaines led Sharon Drucker’s team with 21 points as Coty Clarke scored 17 points and pulled down nine boards in 
the defeat.
“Winning always feels great,” said Kastritis following the game. “We needed that for building our chemistry. We reacted 
the way we should react and if we keep playing defense as we are able, we can expect great results.”
Over in Euroleague action, Olympiacos stunned Maccabi Tel Aviv 85-82 on a last-second triple by Aaron Harrison to send 
the yellow-and-blue to a third loss in a row to drop its record to 1-3 on the season.
Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad came into the clash in Greece after having lost to Bayern Munich by the same score earlier 
in the week at Yad Eliyahu and looked to get back onto the winning track, however Georgios Bartzokas and his team had 
other plans.
Maccabi grabbed an early 22-15 lead after 10 minutes thanks to fine play Oz Blayzer and Tyler Dorsey, but Piraeus 
veterans Vassilis Spanoulis and Georgios Printezis worked their magic in the second frame to pull ahead 44-40 by 
The clubs’ two big men, Othello Hunter and Hassan Martin, went toe to toe in the third quarter as Chris Jones drilled a 
triple at the end of 30 minutes to keep Maccabi close, down 69-66.
However, after a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw Scottie Wilbekin drop a deep three-pointer to knot up the game 
at 82-82 with four seconds remaining, Harrison nailed the game-winning shot from beyond the arc to give the hosts the 
Martin led the way for Olympiacos with 16 points and eight rebounds, Sasha Vezenkov scored 14 points while Harrison 
dropped 12 points and Spanoulis 11 points in the win.
Wilbeken scored 18 points to lead Maccabi, Hunter added 15 points and Jones chipped in with 12 points and six assists 
in the disheartening loss.