The Israel Basketball Winner League Playoffs are now set after a dramatic and frantic final Gameday that produced plenty of action and late game heroics. The quarterfinal round will see Maccabi Tel Aviv take on their crosstown rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv, Hapoel Jerusalem will face Hapoel Beer Sheva, Hapoel Holon tipping off against Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion and Hapoel Eilat playing Nes Ziona with the first games of the best of five series beginning on Thursday night.
There’s no question that the focus will be squarely on the Tel Aviv Derby especially after the extracurricular activities that took place between the two squads just a couple of weeks ago. Hapoel will have one of their stands closed and there will also be a sterile zone by the visitor’s bench as per the penalties levied down by the Israel Basketball Association due to the issues that occurred in the previous Derby.
Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Hapoel Jerusalem 92-91 to punch their ticket to the postseason while also eliminating Maccabi Ashdod. The Tel Aviv Reds scored 27 points off of 28 turnovers by Jerusalem as Jamal Shuler, Jerel McNeal and Tomer Ginat with a big triple to give the host’s an 88-87 lead in the dying seconds came up huge in the final frame to snatch the victory. Ginat led the way for Danny Franco’s squad with 22 points, Shuler scored 15 points while Rich Howell dropped 13 points in the win. Jerusalem Coach Oded Katash was ejected in the fourth quarter as his side’s top scorers were Tashawn Thomas and James Feldeine each with 18 points and Amare Stoudemire who scored 16 points in the loss.
Nes Ziona squeaked by Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 91-90 in Gan Ner. In the back and forth game, Daniel Zilberstein’s squad were able to get by the Galilee side as Chris Dowe hit the game winning free throw to take the victory. Golan Gutt scored a career high 23 points which included five 3-pointers and Gary Browne added 20 points in the win. James Kelly (26 points) and Greg Whittington (23 points) were the high scorers for Gilboa/Galil.
Maccabi Ashdod defeated Hapoel Holon 100-89 but just came up short qualifying for the playoffs. Brad Greenberg’s team led from the get go and scored 64 first half points. Nimrod Levi recorded his career high with 36 points as Paul Stoll and Spencer Weisz each ended the game with a double-double. Corey Walden once again powered Holon with 24 points.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion dropped Hapoel Eilat 81-77. Diamon Simpson led the way for Guy Goodes’s side with 17 points and 11 rebounds and Cameron Long clocked in with 17 points as well in the win. Elijah Bryant scored 25 points for Sharon Drucker’s squad as they now ready for the playoffs.
Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Nahariya 77-71 up north as the yellow-and-blue controlled with paint scoring 50 points form the inside. Alex Tyus scored 14 points while Tarik Black added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jake Cohen chipped in 12 points in the win for Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad. Terry Allen and Eric Griffin each scored 13 points in the defeat.
Hapoel Beer Sheva beat up on Bnei Herzliya 92-68 in a game that was never close. Chanan Colman scored 20 points, Jakim Donaldson recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 boards while newcomer Tanner Leissner added 16 points for Rami Hadar’s team. Herzliya who were already relegated to the Leumit League last week received 16 points from Xavier Rathan-Mayes in their final game of the season.