Hapoel Jerusalem 85-89 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Hapoel SV Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 89-85 in an incredible comeback victory. Jerusalem’s hot three point shooting, led by Jerome Dyson and Bar Timor, was not enough to hold back the dominant rebounding of SV Tel Aviv. Down by 13 at the end of the 3rd quarter, Tel Aviv’s bench played a huge role in the victory, outscoring Jerusalem’s bench 40-22 shooting with incredible efficiency. In a game between evenly matched teams, rebounding and free throw shooting were the difference. Jerusalem can not expect to win games while shooting an abysmal 12/26 from the free throw line, mixed with a poor rebounding effort losing that battle by 18 boards.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 91-94 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
Hapoel Gilboa Galil took down Winner League leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv in a tight game that remained neck and neck for the duration of the contest. Neither team led by double digits as the game was not decided until the finals seconds of the showdown where Gilboa Galil was able to hold on, despite some clutch free-throw shooting from Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Pierre Jackson with just 3.8 seconds remaining which put his club within striking distance with a 1 point deficit. Jackson, who finished with 14 points, continued his success from the charity stripe shooting a perfect 6-6 after shooting 8-8 from the line last Thursday in his impressive MVP performance versus Red Star. Michael Roll also contributed offensively recording 14 points as well as leading his ballclub in assists (5). John Dibartolomeo pitched in 13 points on the offensive end as he logged 31 minutes in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s defeat. Youngster D’Angelo Harrison led the way for Gilboa Galil as the exciting 24 year-old poured in a career high 34 points. Harrison shot an efficient 73% from inside the 3-point line and also a respectable 38% from beyond the arc. Zach LeDay, one year removed from Virginia Tech University, added 20 points for the victors as he logged a whopping 37 minutes of playing time. Shooting guard Joaquin Szuchman, who did not provide much in the way of points, was able to do the dirty work as he racked up 6 rebounds, all of which came on the offensive end. Szuchman also finished with 6 assists but struggled with turning the ball over as he finished with 6 turnovers as well.
This proves to be a big victory for Gilboa Galil although Maccabi Tel Aviv remains atop the standings of the Winner League while Gilboa Galil remains in 4th place. Maccabi Tel Aviv will try to bounce back from a discouraging loss in a Euroleague game next Friday against Armani Milan and Gilboa Galil will look to continue their winning ways in another tough matchup against Hapoel Holon next Sunday.
Maccabi Ashdod 106-82 Maccabi Rishon Le‘Zion
Sitting at 6th place in the most recent rankings and winners of 3 out of their last 4, Maccabi Ashdod supporters had high expectations for their game against Maccabi Rishon Lezion. And they would not be let down. Maccabi Ashdod dominated their opposition 106-82, led by Sek Henry’s 20 points and and Cameron Long’s 21. Rishon Lezion kept the game close for 3 quarters before getting blown out of the water in the fourth, getting outscored 26-15. Despite a strong showing from Drew Crawford (19 points), Mark Tollefsen (21 points), and Jason Siggers (19 points off the bench), a mixture of inefficient shooting and an inability to rebound were the downfall for Rishon Lezion. In a display of strength and discipline, Ashdod outrebounded Lezion 43-24. Maccabi Ashdod hopes to keep their high level of basketball up as they face #2 ranked Hapoel Jerusalem in their next match.
Ironi Nahariya 88-61 Hapoel Fattal Eilat
Number 7 ranked Ironi Nahariya left no doubt in their recent match against #8 ranked Hapoel Fattal Eilat, winning 88-61. Losers of their last four heading into the game, Ironi Nahariya used a balanced, team effort to come out on top. Led by Alex Young’s 20 points and a much needed bench scoring duo of Jonathan Skjoldebrand (16 points) and Stuart Douglass (13 points), Ironi Nahariya were in control throughout, leading by 18 at the half. The story of the game was the ineffectiveness of the bench of Hapoel Eilat. Although the starters had a solid showing (Jordan Loyd’s 16 points, Demetrius Treadwell’s 15 points, and Amit Simhon’s 11), their bench was nearly non-existent. Getting outscored 40-7 by Ironi Nahariya’s second unit. While the difference in bench output is substantial, the players aren’t solely to blame. Eilat Coach Sharon Drucker opted to play only one non-starter over 10 minutes in the game, leaving 4 starters with 30+ minutes of play time for the night. This interesting rotational strategy is noteworthy as Hapoel Eilat is tied in points with #9 seed Maccabi Rishon and will try to hold on to the final playoff spot as they face #5 ranked Hapoel Tel-Aviv in their upcoming match.
Nes Ziona 74-71 Maccabi Haifa
Ironi Nes Ziona pulled off a win in a thrilling finish over Maccabi Hunter Haifa, overcoming a 13 point 1st quarter deficit. Hunter Haifa’s Zach Graham threw up a desperation layup attempt with just seconds remaining that got stuck between the rim and the backboard, forcing a jump ball that went to Nes Ziona and sealed the deal. Other than starters Tal Dunne and Gary Browne Ramirez, the bench carried the load for Nes Ziona as starters Jaron Johnson, Golan Gutt, and Talib Zanna only played 12 minutes a piece and contributed an insignificant 6 points combined. Daequan Cook led the team in scoring with 16 points and Naor Sharon chipped in 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists while Elad Hoffman had 7 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists in a productive outing for the bench trio. Leading all scorers in the contest was Maccabi Haifa’s Graham who finished with 18 points. Graham, who only signed to play the remainder of this season for Maccabi Haifa on December 17th, still fell just short of getting his team the victory when a missed contested layup in the winding seconds allowed Nes Ziona to drain a couple of free throws that gave them the 74-71 win. Former Ole Miss star Reginald Buckner had a double-double for Maccabi Haifa. The Ole Miss all-time blocked shots leader had 11 points and 12 boards but struggled from the line shooting an awful 3/9 which ultimately could have given his team the the team shot just 2 for 18 from deep. Both teams remain amongst the worst in the Winner League with Nes Ziona’s victory bumping them up to 10th place in the standings while Maccabi Haifa resides in 11th. Nes Ziona will face Maccabi Rishon on Sunday and Maccabi Haifa will face Winner League leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv on Sunday as well.
Hapoel Holon 91-77 Bnei Herzliya
Hapoel UNET Holon handily defeated Winner League’s last place team Bnei Herzliya by a score of 91-77. Herzliya remained within striking distance in the first half but Hapoel Holon began to pull away in the 3rd quarter and never looked back. Former Washington Wizard Glen Rice Jr. led the way for Hapoel Holon with a productive statline of 18-6-6. Rice Jr. lost control with around 3 minutes remaining in the 1st half when he was called for a double dribble on a drive rather than what we thought should have been called a foul. Immediately, he responded by punting the ball into the stands. Rice Jr. was able to return to the contest in the 3rd quarter though, somehow avoiding an ejection for his outburst. The starters did the almost all of the work except for Terrell “Tu” Holloway was the lone player off the bench who pitched in quality minutes. Holloway, who is currently in his second stint with Hapoel Holon after the leaving the ballclub briefly last June, had 14 points and 3 assists in 22 minutes of playing time. Herzliya’s starter Jeff Adrien led all scorers with 22 points. Adrien, who spent time in the NBA with 8 different franchises, has finally seemed to have found a home in Israel as he signed a 2 year extension with Bnei Herzliya last August and was also named to an Israeli League All-Star in 2016. Aviram Zelekovits scored 20 points and Dominique Archie had 16 points and 7 rebounds off the bench in the loss for Herzliya.
Tonight, Hapoel Holon will look to get a win against the lowly Enisey in the Basketball Champions League and Herzliya’s next matchup will be against Ironi Nahariya on Sunday.