Mac Haifa wrests 2nd seed away from Eilat

Greens edge Southerners in dramatic regular-season finale; quarterfinal playoffs set to begin.

Maccabi Tel Aviv player Shawn James 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv player Shawn James 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa edged Hapoel Eilat 77-75 on Sunday night to dramatically end the BSL regular season in the runner-up position.
Haifa came back from a double-digit halftime deficit (43-33) and clinched the No.
2 seed in the playoffs after ending the game with a 9-0 run, capped by a Paul Stoll three-pointer with 8.7 seconds to play.
Stoll finished the night with 22 points and seven steals, with Donta Smith adding 15 points for Haifa (17-10), which leapfrogged Eilat and will face Hapoel Gilboa Galil (14-13) in the best-of-five playoff quarterfinals.
Larry O’Bannon and Afik Nissim scored 13 points each for Eilat (17-10), which will square off against Maccabi Rishon Lezion (12-15) in the quarters.
Two of the four quarterfinal playoff series’ were already set prior to Sunday, with No. 1 seed Maccabi Tel Aviv to come up against Hapoel Tel Aviv (8) and Barak Netanya (4) to play Hapoel Jerusalem (5).
The intriguing series between Netanya and Jerusalem will get underway on Wednesday, with the remaining showdowns to start on Thursday.
After two consecutive overtime defeats, Maccabi Tel Aviv (22-5) bounced back on Sunday with a 94- 67 thrashing of Netanya (15-12).
Maccabi ended the first period with an 8-0 run to open a 21-13 lead and all but secured the victory by taking a 20-point cushion (49-29) into the break.
David Logan led five Maccabi players in double figures with 15 points, with Marco Killingsworth scoring 21 for Netanya.
Hapoel Jerusalem will also enter the series against Netanya on the back of a defeat after falling to a 106- 104 overtime loss to Rishon Lezion at Malha Arena.
Dan Grunfeld led seven Jerusalem players in double digits with 22 points, but the team from the capital couldn’t overcome a career night by Rishon’s young Israeli star Or Solomon, who had 27 points and nine rebounds.
Hapoel Holon ended its season on Sunday with a 77-70 road win over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Jerome Dyson netted 24 points for the winners, with Demontez Stitt scoring 24 for Tel Aviv.
Meanwhile, Holon was officially purchased on Sunday by an ownership group headed by Shlomo Aizic, founder and chairman of the U-NET insurance group. Miki Dorsman, who owned and coached the team to the championship in 2008, is also part of the group and will be in charge of professional matters.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Ashdod defeated Gilboa 79-73, while Bnei Herzliya thrashed the relegated Ironi Ashkelon 99-81.