Local Hoops: Pinnock and Netanya shock Haifa at the buzzer

“My team put its faith in me and I was able to make the important shots. It was the biggest shot of my career,” says Pinnock.

barak netanya bball 311 (photo credit: BSL)
barak netanya bball 311
(photo credit: BSL)
The ball seemed to hang in the air forever, but when it finally dropped it hit nothing but the net.
Danilo Pinnock’s three-pointer from one meter from behind the arc with 0.2 seconds to play gave Barak Netanya a 77-75 victory over Maccabi Haifa at Romema on Sunday, bringing Arik Alfasi’s team within one victory of advancing to the Final Four.
“My team put its faith in me and I was able to make the important shots. It was the biggest shot of my career,” said Pinnock, who was the game’s top-scorer, netting 25 points, while also adding eight rebounds and five steals.
“We don’t want to come back here again. We want to finish the series at home.”
Netanya, which now leads the best-of-five series 2-1, hosts Game 4 on Thursday, but will not be thinking of the Final Four just yet with every game in the series so far being won by the road team.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Afula maintained its BSL status for at least a few more days, beating Ironi Ramat Gan 96-92. However, Ramat Gan still leads the relegation playoff series 2-1 and will be confident of securing another season of BSL basketball and relegating Afula to the National League with a home victory on Thursday.
Steffon Bradford scored 29 points in 29 minutes for Afula, connecting on 14 of 16 field goal attempts.
Justin Dentmon and Dionte Christmas added 17 and 15 points, respectively, with Gary Forbes scoring 35 points for Ramat Gan.
On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil can become the first teams to advance to the Final Four.
Both sides take a 2-0 lead into Monday’s encounters, with Jerusalem hosting Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Gilboa welcoming Ironi Ashkelon.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will be looking to open a 2-1 lead when it hosts Bnei Hasharon on Monday. After being stunned at home in Game 1, Tel Aviv trounced Bnei Hasharon by 33 points in Game 2 and will be confident of humiliating its opponent once more on Monday, this time at the Nokia Arena.
Also Monday, Hapoel Holon visits Ironi Nahariya in the relegation playoffs with the series tied at 1-1.
Maccabi Haifa 75, Barak Netanya 77
Netanya got off to a flying start and led 7-0 after two minutes following a Pinnock three-pointer.
Pinnock was terrorizing Haifa’s usually reliable defense and his thundering dunk extended Netanya’s margin to 15 points (25-10).
The hosts limited the damage slightly at the end of the first period and considering the way his team played, Haifa coach Avi Ashkenazi wasn’t too disappointed with being down by nine points (27-18) after 10 minutes.
The visitors lost their heads against Haifa’s suffocating defense andJason Rich’s jumper midway through the third period capped a 15-0 runto start the second half (47-44).
Five straight points by Davon Jefferson opened a six-point lead(52-46), a gap Haifa would take into the final 10 minutes of theencounter (59-53).
A Rich three at the start of the fourth period (66-57) gave Haifa anice cushion, but Netanya continued to fight and Eran Asante’s triplewith 2:19 to play tied the score at 71-71.
Haifa still seemed to be heading towards a victory after Rich’sturnaround jumper gave it a four-point gap (75-71) with a minuteremaining.
However, Pinnock scored six points in the final minute and Netanya claimed a dramatic victory its fans will not quickly forget.
Tony Washam added 15 points for Netanya, with Jefferson scoring 23 for Haifa and Rich contributing 19.