Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 87-90 Hapoel Tel Aviv
It took an overtime period, but Hapoel Tel Aviv hung on to defeat Maccabi Rishon 90-87. Rishon put themselves in a position to pull off the upset in regulation thanks to a big and-1 finish from star Murphy Holloway. But with the final seconds winding down, Hapoel Tel Aviv’s leader Jerel McNeal took matters into his own hands and knocked down a tough fadeaway to send the game to overtime. McNeal had 25 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals, but more importantly, the aggression he brought to this game was crystal clear. He took 18 foul shots in the contest and despite only connecting on 11 of those shots, his ball club got the result they wanted. Raviv Limonad had 14 points and 7 assists and the youngster Tomer Ginat provided a spark off the bench with 15 points and 5 boards.
For Rishon, veteran guard Jason Siggers led all scorers with 28 while Avi Ben Chimol did what he does best, dishing out 10 assists. Murphy Holloway locked it down for Rishon with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the near upset.
Up next, Hapoel Tel Aviv faces an important matchup with Maccabi Ashdod as they’re neck and neck in the standings. Maccabi Rishon will look to climb the standings in matchup with Hapoel Eilat.
Maccabi Haifa 80-90 Hapoel Eilat
Only up 2 points at halftime, Hapoel Eilat pulled away in the second half knocking off Maccabi Haifa by a score of 90-80. Jordan Loyd had 21 points to go with 8 rebounds and Amit Simhon led all scorers with 22 points of his own, shooting a perfect 5 for 5 from 3-point territory. Demetrius Treadwell contributed a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds in the victory. For Maccabi Haifa, the scoring was well-dispersed as 5 players scored in double figures, but no one scored more than 16 points. Haifa kept it fairly close until the end, but with no one player having a big enough game, they fell a little short.
Haifa has had some recent success and they will look to get back on track against Bnei Herzliya in a battle of last place. Eilat will try to keep rolling against Maccabi Rishon.
Maccabi Ashdod 83-62 Ironi Nahariya
After taking a two point lead at halftime, MaccabI Ashdod quickly turned their game into a blowout as they crushed Ironi Nahariya 83-62. Sek Henry led all scorers with 21 points and had 6 assists. Fellow starters Gerald Lee and Cameron Long combined for 25 points and Nimrod Levi provided a double-double off the bench of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Ashdod hurled up 30 3-point attempts and only connected on 11 of those, but they were able to pull away in the second half with ease. Nahariya shot even worse from 3-point range shooting 5 for 25 in their defeat.
The troubles for Nahariya came from a lack of production from the starters. Besides Alex Young, who scored 17 points and had 8 rebounds, the four other starters combined for 15 points. The bench virtually scored as much as the entire starting unit, something that simply cannot happen against any opponent if Nahariya is going to have a shot at winning.
Maccabi Ashdod will try to carry this momentum into their next match with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Nahariya will look to get a win against a lowly Nes Ziona ballclub.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 83-94 Bnei Herzliya
In game number 19 of the season, Herzliya defeated Gilboa Galil 94-83. Solid showings by Galil’s Zach Leday (21 points, 10 rebounds), D’Angelo Harrison (19 points), and J’Covan Brown (13 points, 8 assists) was overshadowed by their opponents strong performance. Led by Shawn Dawson’s 21 points and Jeff Adrien’s 20, Herzliya scored 94 points, which is 16 points more than their season average of 78 which currently ranks as the third worst offense in the Israeli league. One of the main reasons for their high scoring game was their ability to dominate the glass, out rebounding Galil 46 to 27. With Herzliya sitting at the 9th seed, and Galil at 7 every game matters immensely as the fight for a playoff spot heats up.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 77-74 Hapoel Jerusalem
In a game between two of the league’s top teams Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 77-74. Sitting at second place in the standings, Tel Aviv needed to win this game to keep the same record as first place UNET Holon. Trailing by 12 at the end of the 3rd quarter, Maccabi outscored Jerusalem 25-10 in the final quarter. Solid showings from Richard Howell (15 points) and Kalin Lucas (11 points, 5 assists) were canceled out by Jerusalem’s inability to connect from the free throw stripe (8/14 for 57%) and the dominant play of Tel Aviv’s Norris Cole. Cole, a 2x NBA Champion with the Miami Heat, had one of his best games of the season, scoring 22 points off of the bench and willing his team to a huge win. While Maccabi Tel Aviv is not in danger of falling in the standings, winning every game is a necessity if they hope to stay close to a red hot Holon team.
Nes Ziona 87-92 Hapoel Holon
Nes Ziona were the most recent victims of UNET Holon, losing 92-87. Fighting for a playoff spot, Nes Ziona played about as well as they could against a team that looks unstoppable. Khalif Wyatt and Daequan Cook combined for 35 points with 4 total players scoring in double digits. Most of the time, efforts like these have resulted in wins for Nes Ziona this season. However, when playing against an offense as efficient as Holon even great performances may still result in losses. MVP Glen Rice Jr. again led the way for Holon scoring 32 points on an incredible 10/14 from the field, and 9/10 from the line. The attention the defense must give to Rice also opened the floor for his teammates, where Terrell Tu Holloway scored 20 points and Joe Alexander finished with 16. Holon is the hottest team in the league, and are proving time and again they are the best team as the season carries on.