Maccabi Tel Aviv easily disposed of visiting Bnei Herzliya 99-69 on Monday night to move into first place in the Israel Winner League. Keenan Evans scored early and often for the yellow-and-blue as six players notched double digits to send Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team to the dominant victory.
Evans led the way with 19 points, Oz Blayzer added 18 points and Ante Zizic scored 16 points in the win. Chianu Onuaku scored 19 points and Sandy Cohen chipped in with 12 points in the defeat.
“The score shows everything,” Sfairopoulos explained. “We had a good game offensively and defensively, a lot of players participated in a great team game and I’m very happy about that. We are playing well of late and we need to keep our performance at a high level.”
Tel Aviv came out firing as Evans drilled home a pair of triples and hit his jumpers to drop 14 first-quarter points, while Zizic dominated the paint as Onuaku and Quinton Hooker scored for Herzliya, as the hosts led 28-19 after 10 minutes.
John DiBartolomeo and Blayzer led the charge with a pair of three-pointers apiece in the second quarter to rip off a 13-0 run for Maccabi while Iftach Ziv and Jake Cohen also found the basket to bump the yellow-and-blue lead to 56-34 at halftime.
Cohen, Zizic and Evans kept scoring at will for Maccabi as Chris Babb began finding the hoop for Herzliya, but the hosts increased their lead to 76-44 by the end of the third quarter as DiBartolomeo and Blayzer kept scoring for Sfairopoulos’s squad in the final frame to cruise to the 30-point conquest.
In the capital city, Hapoel Jerusalem downed Hapoel Holon in convincing fashion, 104-84, to hand interim head coach Yotam Halperin a win in his debut on the sidelines.
The Reds came out strong as Retin Obasohan scored at will over the first 10 minutes to set the tone for the game as five players finished in double digits and Jerusalem went 17-of-32 (53%) from downtown to cruise to the 20-point victory.
Obasohan led the way with 30 points and eight assists, Amit Gershon and Jalen Adams added 16 points each while Anthony Bennett scored 14 points and Itay Segev chipped in with 10 points in the win in Jerusalem’s first game since parting ways with coach Oren Amiel.
Joe Ragland scored 20 points, Steven Gray added 16 points and Rafi Menco scored 12 points for Holon in the defeat.
“I’m happy about the win and I have to say that I have a lot of mixed feelings as the club went through a lot this week,” Halperin said following the game. “Whoever hasn’t been a player or a coach will never understand what it’s like. I’m very happy as to how the players came into the game, but again it is very hard on me that we had to part ways with a good person [in Oren Amiel] as the responsibility was not just his but all of us.”
Elsewhere, Ness Ziona picked up its first win of the season as it downed Hapoel Tel Aviv 90-76 to hand head coach Lior Lubin his debut victory with the club.
After a fairly even first quarter, Ness Ziona outscored the Reds 28-18 in the second frame thanks to Frank Bartley, Nimrod Tishman, Tal Dunne and Tim Soares to go ahead for good and cruise to the win.
Bartley led all scorers with 22 points while Tishman and Soares scored 14 points apiece to take the victory. Dewan Hernandez and J’Covan Brown scored 15 points each for Tel Aviv in the defeat.
“It’s a matter of coming together,” Lubin said following the win. “We began a bit late preparing for the season and it took time to build the right connection and get into shape. We have improved game by game despite losing, but today we knew how to play well in the fourth quarter to secure the win.”
Tishman spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the victory.
“We knew that this was a critical game for us after having had a tough start to the season. I’m happy that we were able to come together and give our hearts to win the game.”
Also, Hapoel Galil Elyon slipped by Hapoel Haifa 76-71 in a back-and-forth game by the Carmel Mountain.
The visitors took a small lead after the first half and were able to hang on to the advantage during a very intense fourth quarter to notch the win.
Bryce Washington recorded a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds while Ike Iroegbu also scored 20 points in the win. Gregory Vargas scored 17 points and Amit Simhon chipped in with 13 points for Haifa in the loss.
“Today’s game was all about transition defense, boxing out and sharing the ball,” said Wahsington, the game’s MVP. “When we get stops on defense, we can run in transition and just have fun. Sharing the ball is fun and I believe we did that very well today. It was a great team win. We will enjoy it tonight, however, tomorrow we are back in grind mode and preparing for a tough game on Thursday. Our record is back to 0-0.”
Up in the Galilee, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil sunk Hapoel Eilat 94-86 as Sacha Killeya-Jones and Derek Cooke paced the hosts with 20 points apiece to notch the victory at Gan Ner.
Guy Kaplan’s squad grabbed the early lead and never relinquished it as Cooke, who was making his debut, filled the basket with dunks aplenty to help Gilboa to the win.
Ronnie Harrell added 17 points and Michael Brisker chipped in with 12 points in the victory while Romello White with 22 points and Juston Patton with 19 points led Ariel Beit Halachmi’s Eilat team.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Rishon Lezion won its first game of the season as it defeated Hapoel Beersheba 79-67 in the southern capital.
Tu Holloway, who was making his debut for the visitors, put on a show with 24 points to help Guy Goodes’s team to a 45-36 lead at halftime as the wine city squad took the victory.
Along with Holloway, Kris Clyburn added 22 points and Egor Koulechov scored 10 points in the win. Dererk Pardon, with 18 points, and Junior Etou (14 points) paced Rami Hadar’s Beersheba side in the loss.