Maccabiah: US men's hoops limps into medal round

Pearl's boys narrowly avoid another loss, to face Canada in semis; Israel takes on Argentina.

argentina maccabiah (photo credit: Elan Miller)
argentina maccabiah
(photo credit: Elan Miller)
In a continuation of one of the most surprising developments of the Maccabiah thusfar, the US men's basketball team once again struggled on Monday, although this time they managed to rally for an all-important victory to avoid missing the medal round, which would have been a huge shock. One day after dropping its first loss to Russia, the US men's basketball team had another close game against Argentina, eventually pulling out a 97-89 in a high-scoring affair. The Americans have walked backwards into postseason play after demolishing opponents in its first two games. Brazil rebounded from Sunday's 48-point loss to Israel by beating Germany, 76-69. Israel endured its tightest game in the tournament Monday, beating Canada, 80-60, bringing its record to 4-0. Canada will play the US in the semifinals at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Ra'anana's Metrowest Sports Hall, while Argentina takes on Israel at 6 p.m. On the women's side, the US beat Israel, 79-49, in Monday's only action. The game was decidedly more lopsided than the first meeting between the teams last Thursday, when the US won 65-62. Elsewhere, the playoff picture is coming into focus as semifinals in soccer and futsal on Monday brought finals teams to the forefront. With close games and reversals of fortune abound, the tournament's end is shaping up to be very interesting. Great Britain and Argentina will meet in the men's soccer final 7 p.m. Wednesday at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium, as both nations won their semifinal matchups Monday. The two teams faced off earlier in the tournament and played to a spirited 1-1 draw. In the semis, Great Britain held Israel scoreless to squeak by with a 1-0 victory, improving to 3-1-1 for the tournament. After honing their skills against difficult opponents in France, Brazil and Argentina, the British have shutout both the US and Israel in the playoffs. Argentina, which beat Mexico, 3-0, is now 4-0-1, the only blemish on its record being the tie with Great Britain. Israel made it to the finals in futsal, and it reached that plateau by knocking off defending champion Russia, 4-2. Monday's win kept Israel's undefeated tournament intact at 6-0. Israel will play the winner of Monday's late Argentina-Brazil match in Wednesday's 8:30 p.m. title game at Zisman Hall in Ramat Gan. Canada proved again why it is the team to beat in men's softball, winning both of their games Monday. The Canadians' 15-0 win against Venezuela and 11-2 defeat of Israel puts them at 8-0 during tournament play. The Americans' two losses had been to Canada until Monday, when they split a doubleheader with Mexico. The US won the first game, 13-6, but lost the second game, 14-7. Argentina and the US continued to hold steady atop the women's softball standings with victories Monday. The US improved to 6-0 with a 12-2 beating of Israel and Argentina is 3-3 after its 5-0 shutout of Canada. In field hockey, Holland remains the only undefeated team at 4-0 with its 3-2 win against the US, which entered the game with a 3-0 record. Australia and Germany played to a 1-1 tie.