Local Hoops: Netanya defeats Maccabi TA in 2OT epic

Washam hits 34 points as Arik Alfasi's boys break Tel Aviv's unbeaten BSL run.

Maccabi Tel Aviv  298.88 (photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv 298.88
(photo credit: AP)

Barak Netanya ended Maccabi Tel Aviv's perfectstart to the BSL season in thrilling fashion on Sunday night, claiminga 114-103 victory after double-overtime at the Yeshurun Arena.

Netanya entered the game with a 5-1 home record, and showed from the start why it is so hard to win at Yeshurun.

The hosts pressured Maccabi, forcing turnovers in their smallarena and hitting the perennial champion on the break. Tel Aviv's farsuperior roster didn't show the heart or character displayed by theirmodest opponents and Netanya claimed a deserved victory.

Tony Washam scored 34 points for Netanya, with Marco Killingsworth and Danilo Pinnock adding 26 points each.

AndrewWisniewski led Maccabi with 26 points, with Doron Perkins and ChuckEidson each contributing 18 for Tel Aviv, which was hoping to enterThursday's Euroleague Top 16 encounter at Montepaschi Siena on the backof a victory.

Also Sunday, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil consolidated second positionin the standings with an easy 107-83 victory at Hapoel Afula. MaccabiRishon Lezion strengthened its position in the top eight with an 84-82win at Ironi Ashkelon, Rishon's fourth straight win after triumphing injust one of its first seven games of the season.

IroniNahariya also claimed an important victory in its battle againstrelegation, snapping a six-game losing streak with an 82-75 homevictory over Bnei Hasharon on Sunday.

On Monday, the winless Ironi Ramat Gan hosts Hapoel Holon.

Barak Netanya 114, Maccabi Tel Aviv 103

In Netanya, the hosts got off to an encouraging start, forcingMaccabi to commit turnovers and dictating a fast pace to the game. APinnock three-pointer gave Netanya an early seven-point gap (13-6), butTel Aviv ended the first period with an 8-0 run, capped by a DoronPerkins three-point move.

In an extremely tight second quarter, no team ledby more than five points, and it was Netanya which led at the half(50-48) after scoring the final seven points of the half.

The game remained evenly balanced for most of the third period,but Maccabi lost its concentration in the final stages and EranAsante's basket completed a 13-4 run and gave the hosts a promising73-64 advantage with 10 minutes remaining.

However, Netanya had to wait until 6:25 into the fourth quarteruntil it scored its first field-goal and an Andrew Wisniewski basketmidway through the quarter gave Tel Aviv a 77-76 lead.

Netanya looked lost, but Maccabi failed to increase its marginand the hosts regained their cool and would move back in front.Gershon's men, on the other hand, completely lost their composure asthe game drew to a close and Netanya seemed to be heading to the win.

However, Tony Younger missed one of his two free-throws in thefinal seconds and David Bluthenthal scored with 1.3 seconds to play tosend the game into overtime.

The extra five minutes came down to the closing seconds aswell, with a Wisniewski triple tying the score at 96-96 with 41 secondsto play.

Once more, however, both teams made silly mistakes when it mattered most and the game went into a second overtime.

Maccabi should have been better equipped to cope with a secondextra period, but it was Netanya which kept its poise and ended thegame with a 12-2 run to claim a famous victory.

Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 107, Hapoel Afula 83

In Afula, Gilboa all but clinched the win by halftime, opening a53-33 margin. At no stage did Afula threaten to mount a comeback andEli Rabi's team has now lost its last four games by an average of 21.5points.

Jeremy Pargo had 23 points and eight assists for Gilboa, withElishay Kadir scoring 19 and taking eight rebounds. Dlonte Christmasled the struggling Afula with 20 points.

Maccabi Rishon 84, Ironi Ashkelon 82

At Ashkelon, the hosts led 25-16 after 10 minutes and 38-21 withthree minutes to play in the first half. However, Rishon closed towithin 10 points at the break (42-32) and completed its comeback in thethird period, taking a 60-57 into the final quarter.

After a tight fourth period, the score was tied at 77-77 with asingle minute to play, but the visitors made the better decisions inthe final seconds and claimed an important win.

Dalron Johnson had 24 points and eight rebounds for Rishon,with Larry O'Bannon scoring 17 points and Avi Ben-Shimol and AaronMcGhee adding 14 points each.

Moran Rot scored 19 points for Ashkelon, which has lost five straight games.