Local Hoops: Mac TA edges Holon in nail biter

Holon led by as many as 13 points in the first half.

mac ta basket 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
mac ta basket 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Holon came close to inflicting an historic league defeat on Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Nokia Arena on Sunday night. But Tzvika Sherf's team managed to edge the visitors 85-84 in a thrilling BSL encounter. Holon led by as many as 13 points in the first half and the perennial Israeli champion appeared to be heading towards a third successive loss after falling to Olympiacos in the Euroleague on Thursday and Bnei Hasharon in the BSL last week. But the hosts woke up just before half time, kept close throughout the second half and finally beat off their resilient opposition. PJ Tucker had an outstanding game for Holon, scoring 30 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in 35 minutes for Miki Dorsman's side. Terrence Morris led the visitors with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Also Sunday in the BSL, Ironi Ashkelon defeated Ironi Ramat Gan by a single point, 93-92, in the first game in Ashkelon since the recent barrage of Kassam and Grad rockets on the city. Bnei Hasharon had no problems against Maccabi Rishon Lezion, winning out 86-73 and Ironi Nahariya beat Hapoel Afula Gilboa 76-74. In Tel Aviv, Holon took an early 7-2 lead before Batista scored a triple for Maccabi to cut the gap to two points. And a Morris three-pointer a minute later gave the hosts the lead at 10-9. Tel Aviv took the momentum throughout the first quarter but Holon stayed with the BSL champion as the clock drew to a close on the first ten minutes. Two Moran Rot baskets from the line gave Holon a five-point lead which led to an eight-point run to make it 28-19 until a three-pointer from Derrick Sharp gave Maccabi its first points for three minutes. The period ended 31-25 to the visiting team. Holon not only kept its lead in the second quarter but began to stretch it. Tucker scored two to give him 12 points for the night and his team a ten point gap at 39-29 with seven minutes left in the half. Rot delighted the already excited Holon fans with two more from the line to make it 40-29, Tucker added another two and Sherf looked shocked on the sidelines. Maccabi was missing nearly every shot while Tucker just couldn't stop scoring. With five minutes left Holon was leading by 13. Lior Eliyahu brought Maccabi back into the game with four points in succession, followed by baskets from Bynum, Morris and Garcia without reply and suddenly the lead was cut to only five points (48-43). Morris scored again two seconds before the half time buzzer and the period ended 49-45. Holon tried hard to keep its lead in the second half but soon Maccabi was back in the game. Sharp's three-pointer gave the home side a 63-61 lead and it was finally in front again. But Holon pushed forward once more with a stunning Tucker alley-oop from a Simmons pass giving the visitors another lead at 67-63. With ten minutes to go Holon was still ahead, but only by two points (72-70). In the final quarter the lead yo-yoed with neither team able to hold a gap of more than a couple of points. But another Casspi miss, and another Tucker basket gave Holon a three point gap (84-81) with just over a minute left. With 10 seconds left and Tel Aviv leading 85-84 Simmons missed a three-point shot but Maccabi's Casspi sent a long ball too far down the court and Terrence Morris couldn't catch it. Holon took possession after the time out but was not able to make it count. Simmons's final effort hit the rim and Maccabi won the game - just about. The 16th round of BSLgames will be completed on Monday evening when Dan Shamir's Hapoel Jerusalem will hope to bounce back from last week's loss at Nahariya when it visits Galil Elyon