Local Hoops: Mac TA triumphs ahead of real test this week in Euroleague action

Charles Gaines led with 17 points; Lior Eliyahu also scored 17 points; Marcus Brown and Dror Hagag added 16 and 15 points respectively.

Lior Eliyahu 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Lior Eliyahu 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Maccabi Tel Aviv improved its BSL record in 2009 to 6-0 on Sunday night, but was anything but convincing in the 102-85 victory at Ironi Nahariya. Despite winning with ease thanks to a 35-point fourth quarter, Maccabi was far from its best and didn't give coach Pini Gershon many reasons for optimism ahead of Thursday's crucial Euroleague game against Real Madrid. "We made some good plays in the final quarter and surged in front," Gershon said. "We'll try and learn from the good and the bad ahead of the game against Real, but we will definitely have to play well for 40 minutes to beat Madrid." Charles Gaines led Maccabi with 17 points and 10 rebounds, with Lior Eliyahu also scoring 17 points. Marcus Brown and Dror Hagag added 16 and 15 points respectively. Raviv Limonad scored 18 points for Nahariya, with Ron Lewis contributing 17 points. Carlos Arroyo, who was suspended for 24 hours for improper conduct on Thursday, went to the basket in the first possession of the night, showing everyone business was back to usual. A D'or Fischer dunk capped a 10-2 Maccabi run to start the game and the visitors led 24-17 after 10 minutes. Four straight Lewis points midway through the second period tied the score at 35-35, but Tel Aviv led by four points (44-40) at the break. Tel Aviv was still ahead by only four points (67-63) at the end of the third quarter, but Maccabi began the final period with a 17-2 run and clinched the win. Also Sunday, Ironi Kiryat Ata ended its 12 game losing streak, defeating Ironi Ashkelon 87-80, its first win since the end of October of last year. Kiryat Ata was outscored 29-14 in the first period, but dominated the next three quarters on its way to its second victory of the season. Draelon Burns and Aaron Nixon each scored 19 points for the winners, with Vladi Ermichin adding 17 points and 12 rebounds. Steve Burtt scored 19 points for Ashkelon, which has now lost six of its last seven games. Hapoel Galil/Gilboa continued its decline on Sunday, losing 84-79 at home to Ironi Ramat Gan, a sixth defeat in eight games. Josh Gomez led Ramat Gan scoring 25 points, with Brian Randle scoring 19 points for Galil. Maccabi Givat Shmuel claimed an important win in its search of a top-8 finish and a playoff berth, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 88-77 in Rishon on Sunday. Greg Grays led six Givat Shmuel players in double-figures, scoring 17 points, with Demarco Johnson leading Rishon with 18 points. On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Maccabi Haifa in a repeat of last Thursday's State Cup final.