Local Hoops: Mac attack bounces back in a big way

Tel Aviv thrashes Bnei Hasharon to even series at 1; Gilboa/Galil one win away from Final 4.

Bnei Hasharon Mac TA action 311 (photo credit: BSL)
Bnei Hasharon Mac TA action 311
(photo credit: BSL)
Maccabi Tel Aviv crushed Bnei Hasharon 91-58 in Herzliya on Thursday night, avenging its shock home loss in Game 1 and tying the best-of-five quarterfinal playoff series at 1-1.
After its lackluster performance cost it dearly earlier this week, Maccabi was adamant to prove its worth in Herzliya and show Bnei Hasharon that its victory in Game 1 was no more than a coincidence.
Pini Gershon’s team steamrolled Bnei Hasharon from the start of the encounter, playing unwavering defense and punishing the hosts on the offensive end with accurate shooting.  Tel Aviv all but clinched the win by the break, outscoring the hosts 29-10 in the second period to open a 56-30 lead at halftime.
“Maccabi did its job and we paid the price,” Bnei Hasharon coach Dan Shamir said. “We played untidy basketball and that resulted in a one-sided game. We now need to focus on Game 3 because the series isn’t over yet.”
Maccabi will be confident of taking a 2-1 lead in the series when it hosts Game 3 at the Nokia Arena on Monday night, while Bnei Hasharon will be first and foremost hoping to avoid the fate of Ironi Ashkelon last season.
Ashkelon shocked Maccabi in the first game of the playoffs last year, only to lose the next three by a humbling average of 24 points per game.
Also Thursday, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil took a big step towards a series sweep, beating Ironi Ashkelon 84-73 on the road to take a 2-0 in the quarterfinal playoffs.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Holon boosted its chances of BSL survival, defeating Ironi Nahariya 76-70 at home to tie the relegation playoff series at 1-1.
Bnei Hasharon 58, Maccabi Tel Aviv 91
Maccabi was committed and determined at the start of the game and quickly surged ahead. D’or Fischer’s three-point move gave the team an early five-point gap (7-2) and the visitors were in front by seven points (27-20) after 10 minutes following Yaniv Green’s lay-up.
Tel Aviv had no intention of resting on its laurels and continued to extend the margin in the second period. Bnei Hasharon couldn’t buy a basket against Maccabi’s gritty defense and Maccabi’s players were scoring at will.
The hosts failed to score for almost three-and-a-half minutes and Maccabi increased its lead to 17 points (37-20) after beginning the period with a 10-0 run.
Matters would get even worse for Bnei Hasharon in the remainder of the half, with Tel Aviv opening an unassailable gap by the interval.
Andrew Wisniewski’s three to end the frame increased the margin to a massive 26 points (56-30) and concluded a game-winning second quarter in which Maccabi outscored Bnei Hasharon 29-10.
The hosts gave it one more shot at the beginning of the second half, but Tel Aviv repelled all of Bnei Hasharon’s comeback attempts and cruised to a confidence-boosting victory.
Alan Anderson scored 19 points for Maccabi, with Chuck Eidson adding 14. P.J. Tucker had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Bnei Hasharon.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 84, Ironi Ashkelon 73
A very tight first period ended in a 22-22 tie and the score was still close with five minutes remaining in the first half. However, the visitors would seize control in the final minutes of the second period and opened a significant lead by the break.
Gilboa tightened its defense and was comfortably in front at halftime (51-39) after scoring the final seven points of the quarter.
The visitors maintained their gap in the third quarter and took an 11-point advantage (67-56) into the final 10 minutes after a Jeremy Pargo triple.
Ashkelon never came close to even mounting a comeback in the fourth period and Gilboa cruised to move within one victory of the Final Four.
Brain Randle and Elishay Kadir scored 16 points each for Gilboa, with Cory Carr scoring 18 for Ashkelon, which will see its season come to an end if it fails to win in Gan Ner on Monday.
Hapoel Holon 76, Ironi Nahariya 70
Points were at a premium in Holon, with the hosts leading 15-11after the first period. Holon extended its lead in the second quarterand took a nine-point gap (36-27) into the break after a Wykeen Kelleythree.
The hosts raced ahead in the third period and had a 17-poinr cushion (58-41) entering the final frame.
Nahariyaedged closer and closer as the fourth quarter progressed, but Holon wasnever going to lose its lead and held on for a crucial victory.
Titus Ivory led Holon with 24 points, with Adam Ballinger scoring 14 points for Nahariya, which hosts Game 3 on Monday.