Basketball: Mac TA survives thrilla' in Afula

Sharp came to Maccabi's rescue yet again on the last possession of the game.

Maccabi TA 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Maccabi TA 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv needed clutch play by captain Derrick Sharp to prevail 96-94 against Hapoel Afula/Gilboa in Matchday 9 of the BSL Sunday night. "A very tough game," said a relieved Neven Spahija after the dramatic win. "We are mentally tired. I knew it was going to be a tough game, especially for our young players. "This victory was very important for us. The key to winning is defense and we will have to improve that." Bnei Hasharon also had a hard time but managed to edge a defiant Ironi Ramat Gan 92-90, while Oded Katash's Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan beat Elitzur Ashkelon 102-92 with an impressive offensive display and Maccabi Givat Shmuel defeated Ironi Nahariya by a comfortable 16 points (94-78). Maccabi Tel Aviv 96, Hapoel Afula/Gilboa 94 The yellow-and-blue opened the game with two quick baskets, but Tunji Awujobi sparked a 12-6 run for the hosts. Will Bynum entered the game towards the end of the first quarter and hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to cut Afula's lead to 26-23. Bynum, who did not play in Maccabi's Euroleague game against Union Olimpija because he was ill, forced Awujobi's third personal foul and Afula took a 51-49 lead into halftime. Tel Aviv came out strong in the second half, but Afula tied the score at 81 with 3:43 left in the fourth quarter. Hapoel Afula/Gilboa's Yehu Orland shot an uncontested three-pointer to make it 94-94 with just 11 seconds left on the clock. Sharp came to Maccabi's rescue yet again on the last possession of the game. The veteran sharpshooter made a slick steal and after he was fouled, he sank both free throws to cap the scoring. Lior Eliyahu was Maccabi's top overall performer with 18 points, five rebounds and three assists. Bynum was dominant and he finished with 19 points, including three crucial three-pointers. Bnei Hasharon 92,Ironi Ramat Gan 90 Torraye Braggs demolished Bnei Hasharon's game plan in the first half, scoring 13 points and leading Ramat Gan to a 50-48 lead at halftime. Bnei Hasharon's leading scorer, Lee Nailon, was in foul trouble and did not have an impact on the game. After Ramat Gan took an 86-81 lead in the fourth period, Bnei Hasharon went on a 5-0 run to tie the score. Erez Katz's jumper gave the hosts the victory. Hap Galil Elyon-Golan 102, Elitzur Ashkelon 92 The visitors from the North dominated from the tipoff, taking a comfortable 24-8 lead in the first quarter. Ashkelon tried to stop Oded Katash's squad, but committed numerous turnovers and settled for low-percentage shots. Chester Simmons scored a season-high 33 points for Galil-Golan, with swingman Sasa Bratic contributing 17 points. Kenny Adeleke dominated the boards and finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Maccabi Givat Shmuel 94, Ironi Nahariya 78 Ofer Berkovitch's Givat Shmuel snapped a seven-game losing streak with a spirited performance against Nahariya. The hosts breezed to a 22-14 lead in the opening stages. Nahariya was staring at a 20-point deficit (71-51) in the third period. Moshe Brener led Givat Shmuel in the scoring department with a game-high 23 points, while Wayne Wallace added 15 points and seven rebounds. Playmaker Jason Straight finished with 12 points and four assists, which mostly came in the first half.