Local Hoops: Maccabi takes the Heat in 80-68 win

Holon vs Ashkelon game cancelled after Turner dunk breaks rim of one basket.

Lior Eliyahu 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Lior Eliyahu 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Maccabi Tel Aviv put its Euroleague struggles behind it on Sunday, claiming a hard-fought 80-68 BSL victory over the Maccabi Haifa Heat at the Nokia Arena. Haifa led for large parts of the encounter, but scored just 10 points in the fourth period and the hosts recovered from Thursday night's thrashing at the hands of Unicaja Malaga with a second straight league win. "We got the bad taste from Thursday out of our mouth," said Tel Aviv guard Marcus Brown, who led the team with 21 points. "This was a tough game, but we defended really well and sometimes defense is your best offense." Carlos Arroyo and D'or Fischer added 18 and 14 points respectively. Doron Perkins carried the Heat for most of the game and ended the encounter with 24 points, hitting four of eight shots from beyond the arc. "We lacked concentration on offense. We could have played much better tonight," Haifa coach Avi Ashkenazi said. Also Sunday, the game between Hapoel Holon and Ironi Ashkelon was called off with 4.26 minutes remaining in the first period after Ashkelon's Rashon Turner broke the rim with a thunderous dunk. After waiting for almost an hour-and-a-half while Holon staff tried to fix the basket, the referees decided to cancel the game and the hosts, who led 17-15 at the time, could well face a punishment from the BSL after not having a replacement basket on hand as required. "This is the first time I've broken a basket," Turner said. "It must be quite old and that's why it broke so easily." Ironi Nahariya claimed an important victory on Sunday, winning 93-92 at Maccabi Rishon Lezion thanks to a Ron Lewis three-pointer in the final seconds. Rishon led 50-30 at the break and 72-55 with 10 minutes to play. But Nahariya outscored the hosts 38-20 in the fourth quarter and put some distance between itself and the bottom of the table. Lewis scored 24 points for the winners, with Aaron McGhee contributing 24 points and 14 rebounds. Robert Conley led Rishon with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Bnei Hasharon rebounded from last week's surprise home loss to Rishon, defeating Ironi Ramat Gan 88-78 in Ra'anana on Sunday. Meir Tapiro scored 21 points, passed eight assists and took six rebounds for Bnei Hasharon, with Anthony Myles leading the losers with 25 points and 11 rebounds. On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem visits Elitzur Kiryat Ata. In Tel Aviv, the lead exchanged hands several times in the first five minutes of the encounter, but it was the visitors who dominated the second part of the first period. A Perkins dunk opened a 15-9 lead and Amit Ben-David's jumper extended the margin to a record eight points (19-11). The visitors took a 22-16 advantage into the second quarter, but the hosts were never too far behind and midway through the period went ahead (31-30). Tel Aviv led 40-35 at the break after scoring the final five points of the first half, with Arroyo's three-point move capping the period. Despite leading by a slender margin throughout the third quarter, the hosts went into the final 10 minutes trailing by a single point (58-57) following a Perkins three. A Davon Jefferson dunk early in the fourth period opened a 62-59 margin for the Heat, but the visitors would lose their head in the subsequent minutes and Tel Aviv showed no mercy. The hosts raced to an 11-0 run, capped by a Fischer dunk, opening a 70-62 gap from which Haifa could not return. Elie Leshem contributed to this report.