Yellow-and-blue back to winning ways

Mac TA thrashes Gilboa/Galil in BSL action; Mac Rishon dominates Hap J’lem at Malha.

Richard Hendrix 370 (photo credit: asaf kliger)
Richard Hendrix 370
(photo credit: asaf kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv resumed normal service in the BSL on Sunday night, beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 91-77 to improve to 19-2 after its heart-wrenching Euroleague exit.
Maccabi players were almost inconsolable following their Game 5 defeat to Panathinaikos in Greece last Thursday, but they put up another professional showing in a meaningless league game on Sunday as they prepare for the BSL playoffs and Adriatic League Final Four.
Gilboa trailed by just a single point at halftime (38-37) and came back from a 15-point third-quarter deficit (57-42) to close within four (74-70) after Joseph Jones’s basket with 2:45 on the clock.
But David Blu ended any hopes Gilboa may have had of leaving Nokia with a victory with two straight three-pointers and Maccabi got back to winning ways.
Yogev Ohayon continued his inspired form with 18 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, with Richard Hendrix and Devin Smith adding 17 points each.
“It wasn’t easy to recover from the loss against Panathinaikos,” Ohayon said. “I’m happy we did our job and that we were aggressive in the second half. We needed to get back on track.”
Jones scored 14 points for Gilboa, which is now tied on a 14-8 record with Maccabi Rishon Lezion after Effi Birenboim’s men recorded an impressive 82-76 victory over Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha Arena.
The margin of victory did Rishon’s display little justice, with the visitors leading throughout the night, holding an 18-point (65-47) gap late in the third.
Rishon took a 15-point margin (70-55) into the final 10 minutes before freezing and allowing Jerusalem to come within five points (79-74) with 1:15 to go courtesy of a Yuval Naimi basket.
However, Hapoel would come no closer and Rishon claimed a well-deserved fourth-straight win, beating Jerusalem for the second time in three weeks.
Adrian Uter had 24 points for Rishon, 22 of them in the first half, with Eyal Shulman exploding for 22 points in the absence of Joe Crawford after scoring just eight total points in 16 previous games this season.
D.J. Strawberry netted 15 points for Jerusalem, which saw its hopes of clinching a top-four finish and home-court advantage suffer a hefty blow with its defeat to Rishon and Hapoel Holon’s 85-75 win over Ironi Ashkelon.
Holon opened a slender lead in the first period in Asheklon and never lost control.
Ron Lewis had 23 points and eight rebounds for Holon, which hosts Jerusalem on Wednesday and can effectively clinch homecourt advantage in the quarterfinal playoffs with a win.
Marco Killingsworth had 23 points and 10 boards for Ashkelon, which dropped to a fourth straight loss.
After more than four months, Maccabi Haifa finally won a game on Sunday, edging Barak Netanya 75-72 on the road.
Haifa had lost 15 straight league games, but it erased a 13-point first period deficit and outlasted Netanya to salvage some pride.
Sylven Landesberg netted 18 points for Haifa, while Yehu Orland scored 20 for Netanya, which is in serious jeopardy of losing out on the eighth and final playoff berth.