Yellow-and-blue makes it seven straight

Holon no rival for Mac TA, Ness Ziona and Nahariya claim crucial tight wins at home.

Robert Rothbart  (photo credit: LILACH WEISS/BSL)
Robert Rothbart
(photo credit: LILACH WEISS/BSL)
Maccabi Tel Aviv won its seventh consecutive BSL game on Sunday night to strengthen its hold on first place in the standings, easily beating Hapoel Holon 100-87 on the road.
Maccabi opened a double-digit gap (49- 38) at the break after scoring eight of the final 10 points of the first half and was never going to be caught after outscoring Holon 31-18 in the third period to take a 24-point cushion (80-56) into the final 10 minutes.
Sylven Landesberg continued his superb form in the BSL with 29 points and eight rebounds, hitting seven three-pointers for Maccabi, which improved to 11-2.
Shlomi Harush and Isaac Rosefelt had 18 points each for Holon (6-6).
Also Sunday, Ironi Nahariya (4-9) built on its win over Hapoel Jerusalem last week with a 90-88 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv (7-6), while Ironi Ness Ziona (8-5) beat Bnei Herzliya (4-9) by the same score-line behind 39 points from Craig Smith.
Hapoel Tel Aviv dominated the second quarter in Nahariya, taking a 49-38 gap into the break following Larry O’Bannon’s three-pointer at the buzzer. However.
Nahariya outscored the visitors 33-18 in the third period and held a four-point edge (71-67) with one frame to play.
A tight final 10 minutes would ensue, with Yancy Gates tying the score at 88-88 before Eyal Shulman scored the go-ahead basket to give Nahariya its first winning streak of the season.
Mark Lyons led Nahariya with 30 points, with Robert Rothbart continuing his strong recent play with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
O’Bannon had 25 points for Hapoel.
The game in Ness Ziona would also only be decided in the final minute, with Josh Selby’s free throws with 11 seconds remaining bringing Herzliya within a single point (89-88). Smith hit just one of two attempts from the line at the other end, but Yuval Naimi was blocked by Tal Dan at the buzzer and Ness Ziona held on.
Smith hit 14-of-16 field-goal attempts and 11-of-14 free throws on his way to 39 points, with Dan adding 16 points and seven boards. Kyle Weaver scored 22 points for Herzliya.
On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem (9-2) looks to end its slump when it hosts Maccabi Haifa (4-8). Jerusalem has lost four straight games over all competitions and two in a row in the BSL after beginning the campaign with a club record nine consecutive victories.
Jerusalem’s disastrous Eurocup campaign finally came to a close last Wednesday with a 98-88 defeat at Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius in Lithuania, meaning Hapoel ended Group E in last place with a 2-8 record.
The latest setbacks have not discouraged Jerusalem owner Ori Allon, who met with Israeli guard Gal Mekel in New York. The guard is currently without a team after surprisingly being released by the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday.
Mekel plans to remain in the US for the time being in the hope of finding another team in the NBA, but Allon still chose to meet with him to try and lure him to Jerusalem.
Haifa will enter Monday’s encounter on the back of five defeats over its past six games, but with two new players.
Will Graves and Moran Roth have come in as replacements for Americans Demontez Stitt and Jeff Allen after they were cut from the team following their arrest for being in possession of marijuana.
Also Monday, Gilboa (5-7) visits Hapoel Eilat (5-7) and Maccabi Rishon Lezion (8-4) welcomes Maccabi Ashdod (3-9).