Yellow-and-blue survives Herzliya scare

Mac TA needs overtime to conquer Bnei Hasharon for 14th straight in BSL; Haifa snaps skid.

Maccabi Tel Aviv slam 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv slam 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Bnei Hasharon came tantalizingly close to defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv for a second time this season on Sunday night, losing 90-88 in overtime in Herzliya.
Ron Steele squandered a chance to give Bnei Hasharon a crucial lead with three seconds to play in regulation, when he missed from the freethrow line.
The hosts had their chances in the extra period as well, but despite going in front in the final minute of overtime they failed to close out the win and Maccabi eked out a 14th straight BSL victory thanks to a clutch threepointer from Chuck Eidson with 30 seconds remaining.
“We lost focus and we allowed them back into the game,” said Doron Perkins, who had 16 points, six rebounds and six assists for Maccabi.
“Bnei Hasharon is a good team so I’m just happy we managed to win.”
Guy Pnini and Lior Eliyahu added 14 and 12 points, respectively, for Maccabi, which will face Maccabi Rishon Lezion in league action on Thursday in a game brought forward from Sunday to give the yellow-and-blue more time to prepare for the start of its Euroleague quarterfinal playoff series against Caja Laboral Vitoria next Tuesday.
Shawn James had 17 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in a dominant performance under the baskets for Bnei Hasharon, with Steele scoring 15 points for Dan Shamir’s team, which had won four straight games since being thrashed 113-67 by Maccabi.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Haifa won for just the third time in its last 18 games, beating Maccabi Ashdod 73-66.
Tyler Wilkerson led Haifa with 20 points and eight rebounds in his first game for the Greens since being traded to the team from Hapoel Gilboa/Galil for Marco Killingsworth.
Meir Tapiro scored 16 points for Ashdod, which has lost seven of eight contests.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil won for the fifth time in seven games on Sunday, defeating Barak Netanya 85-76.
Killingsworth had 17 points and nine rebounds for Gilboa, with Adrian Banks scoring 18 for Netanya.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion hosts Ironi Ashkelon on Monday.
Bnei Hasharon, which handed Tel Aviv its only BSL loss of the season to date in November, led early in the game in Herzliya, but a 14-2 run by Maccabi gave it a lead it would hold onto for almost the entire game.
Bnei Hasharon was still within touching distance (42-36) at halftime, but Maccabi pulled ahead as the third period progressed and seemed to be cruising to the win after beginning the final period with a 7-0 run (70- 55).
But Bnei Hasharon slowly ate away at the lead and a Steele three with 56 seconds to play completed a 12-2 spurt that tied the score at 76-76.
Steele leveled the score once more from the charity stripe (79-79) with three seconds to go, but the game went into overtime after he missed his second shot from the line.
There was little to separate the teams in overtime as well and James’s basket from an offensive rebound with just under one minute to play gave the hosts their first lead (86-84) since the first quarter.
However, Eidson hit a three to put Maccabi back in front with 30 seconds remaining and the visitors held on for a dramatic win when Steele couldn’t get off a shot at the other end.