Maccabi Ashdod 74-65 Hapoel Jerusalem
Ashdod played another fantastic game of basketball defeating Jerusalem for their 5th win in a row. The victory moved Brad Greenberg’s team into 5th place with an 8-7 record thanks to Sek Henry’s 22 points coupled with Gerald Lee’s 15 points and 11 rebounds. Nimrod Levi finished the evening with 12 points, 11 rebounds and an incredible +25 for the hosts’s. Jerome Dyson scored 21 points for Jerusalem in a losing effort for their second defeat in as many games. The Reds held a 39-29 lead after 20 minutes and were up 47-34 in the 3rd quarter but that’s when Greenberg’s charges let loose and grabbed the bull by the horns outscoring Jerusalem 40-18 over the last quarter and a half. Ashdod played lock down defense winning the battle on the boards 44-34 which included a whopping 15 offensive rebounds while also taking advantage of 18 Jerusalem turnovers. The host’s aggressive play decided the game with Nimrod Levi leading the way fighting for every single possession in the paint.
Head Coach Brad Greenberg discussed the victory:
“The defense was the key to the win, we guarded really well in the second half and made a few more shots. We missed some in the first half but got offensive rebounds on those that we missed. We had to come back twice in the second half and we did that by working hard on defense.”
Travis Warech spoke about his side’s win:
“We gave up a lot in the first half and our defense wasn’t ideal, they were making some tough shots. We really buckled down in the second half and gave up only 10 points in the 4th quarter against a top 2 team, that’s the only was we win that game, through defense.”
Sek Henry also chimed in after scoring a game high 22 points:
“This was a tough game for me. I missed so many shots in the first half. My teammates told me to keep shooting and we told each other to keep fighting.”
Kalin Lucas spoke exclusively to The Sports Rabbi following the game:
“We have to learn from them. Watch film, see how we can get better and move on. It’s a long season but we’ll fix it.”
Trouble with Ashdod’s swarming defense:
“When they send 3-4 guys in the paint we have to look for the kick out.”
“For the most part I feel like we had good shots and we made them in the first half but not the second half. Sometimes instead of taking a jump shot you have to go to the rim and go to the basket and try to get some easy ones.”
Looking ahead to Eilat:
“The coaching staff will prepare us the right way and the correct way so we will be ready for them.”
Head Coach Mody Maor also discussed the trouble his team had with Ashdod:
“We were not in the best offensive flow. There are days like this when the ball won’t go in. Ashdod played very good defense and we have to give them credit for that. We are usually the tougher team on the court. We did not respond well to the game. We are focused now on the game vs. Eilat.”
Bar Timor also looked back on the defeat:
“We fell apart in the second half. We have an issue that we cannot stay in form for the whole game physically. We had a lot of injured players and our practices rejected that. We will improve. I had an injury a long time and it’s hard to stay on track and to deal with my injury.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv 86-74 Hapoel Eilat
Hapoel Tel Aviv pulled away from Hapoel Eilat as they won 86-74 in what was a close contest until the 4th quarter. Jerel McNeal, Marquette University’s all-time scoring and steals leader, led his squad in scoring with 18 points. Adrian Banks and Raviv Limind contributed 17 and 15 points, respectively. For Hapoel Eilat, Amit Simhon played virtually the entire game as he racked up 23 points. Following were Americans Jordan Loyd and Isaac Rosefelt who combined for 24 points. Rosefelt, the veteran from Minnesota, came off the bench for Eilat and had a double-double. Demetrius Treadwell, a Cleveland native, also had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds in their defeat. Hapoel Tel Aviv will play Bnei Herzliya in their next matchup and Hapoel Eilat will face a tough Hapoel Jerusalem team on Sunday.
Maccabi Haifa 75-85 Maccabi Tel Aviv
The top ranked defensive team in the league, Maccabi Tel Aviv (allowing 76.4 PPG) felt confident going into their match against the worst statistical offense in the Super League, Maccabi Haifa (averaging 75.5 PPG). Not only are they the #1 ranked team in the league, but they were also undefeated on the road heading into their match, and that wouldn’t change. While the records of the teams and their placement in the standings lead fans to believe a blowout was imminent, #11 ranked Haifa held their own and kept the game close throughout. The first unit for Haifa played well against the league’s top team, led by Angel Rodriguez’s 19 points, Reginald Buckner’s 14, and Oz Blayzer’s 11. Nearly equaling the total of the starters for Tel Aviv (Norris Cole’s 16 points, John Dibartolomeo’s 16, Alex Tyus 11), the second unit were the downfall of the game. The difference in the game was the efficient, high scoring game from Jake Cohen. Scoring 17 points on 7/9 shooting off the bench for Tel Aviv, Cohen led the second unit to outscoring Haifa’s 30-21. Tel Aviv looks to continue their dominance in the league in their next game against Rishon Lezion.
Unet Holon 101-92 Gilboa/Galil
In a battle of top teams, #2 ranked UNET Holon defeated #5 ranked Gilboa Galil 101-92 in a tight battle. Gilboa’s dominant rebounding, and a high scoring game for Zach Leday were not enough to beat out the well rounded scoring effort of Holon. Holon’s dominant offensive performance was led by Guy Pnini’s 21 points, Joe Alexander’s 19, and 17 a piece for Terrell Tu Holloway and Shlomi Harrush off the bench. The #1 ranked offensive team in the league continued flexing their muscles putting up 11 points more than their average (averaging 90.1 PPG). On a team lacking depth after the starting unit, Zach Leday and J’Covan Brown did everything they could to keep the game close. Leday scored 32 on 14/24 shooting, with Brown adding in 23 on 6/11 from the field. Gilboa/Galil will look to climb up the league ranks taking on Ironi Nahariya in their next match.
Bnei Herzliya 72-69 Nahariya
Bnei Rav-Bariach Herzliya pulled off the upset against Ironi Nahariya 72-69 holding off what would have been a thrilling comeback after nearly blowing a 15 point first half lead. Shawn Dawson led the way for Herzliya with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 steals. Dawson, born in Eilat, went undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft and spent brief stints with the Washington Wizards and New Orleans Pelicans but quickly opted to spend his career in his homeland and play for the Israel national team. Also helping out for Herzliya was Jeff Adrien (12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals) and Aviram Zelekovits (14 points, 4 rebounds) in their win. Off the bench, Jonathan Skjoldebrand led all scorers in the contest with 21 points, but it wasn’t enough as Skjoldebrand’s fade-away three from the corner to tie the game came up short at the buzzer. Skjoldebrand, the Swedish native, shot 5-6 from 3-point territory and Corey Webster also pitched in 18 points off the bench. Only one starter, Alex Young, scored in double-digits in the loss for Nahariya. On Sunday, after falling to Winner League’s 11th placed Herzliya, Nahariya will look to bounce back versus Gilboa/Galil. Herzliya will be looking to build some momentum against the 9-6 Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 84-69 Nes Tziona
Rishon handily beat Nes Tziona at home by 15 points thanks to a superb showing by Murphy Holloway who scored 14 points, pulled down 17 big boards and added 7 assists. In a game that was never in doubt, Jason Siggers and Drew Crawford added 17 points a piece for Shmulik Brener’s squad. Jaron Johnson paced Nes Tziona with 23 points on the night.