Maccabi Tel Aviv 80-71 Maccabi Haifa
In a battle of teams at opposite ends of the standings, Maccabi Tel Aviv knocked off Maccabi Haifa by a score of 80-71. Tied at 59 heading into the final frame, Maccabi Tel Aviv pulled away thanks to an even distribution of scoring from Deshaun Thomas, Deandre Kane, Michael Roll, Jake Cohen, and Itay Segev. Thomas, Roll, and Segev all came in off the bench providing valuable minutes for a team that has the luxury of not having to rely heavily on their starters.
For Haifa, the narrative was quite different. In fact, they did have to rely heavily on their starters and only got 11 points from the bench, compared to 44 bench points for Tel Aviv. University of Miami product Angel Rodriguez was the story for Haifa as he poured in 19 points to go along with 4 assists and a couple steals. Maccabi Tel Aviv faces off against Gilboa Galil next and Maccabi Haifa will face a tough Maccabi Ashdod team as they remain at the bottom of the standings.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 82-79 Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion
Trailing by 9 at the end of three quarters, Hapoel Tel Aviv pulled off an impressive comeback to squeak out a win over Maccabi Rishon, 82-79. Tomer Ginat scored 13 points off the bench but seemingly had a greater impact on the floor shown by his +17 +/-. Jerel McNeal also provided 16 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds off the bench as he lead his club to victory. As a team, Tel Aviv was extremely efficient and careful with the basketball as they only had 6 turnovers in the contest.
Despite the loss, Rishon played a quality basketball game. It was the 17 turnovers to their opponent’s 6 that cost them down the stretch. Young up and coming Israel native, Idan Zalmanson, who has been living in Rishon since the age of 3, led his club with 20 points and 10 boards. Avi Ben Chimol had just another day at the office with 11 points and an amazing 16 assists. Mark Tollefson contributed a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds. Demoted to the bench, Murphy Holloway’s fire power seems to be drifting as he only received 15 minutes of playing time and finished with 9 points. Hapoel Tel Aviv will face off with Nes Ziona next while Maccabi Rishon will look to bounce back against Hapoel Eilat.
Hapoel Holon 89-94 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
Gilboa/Galil pulled off an incredible victory over league leaders Hapoel Holon in what has become one of the crazier storylines this season. After a slow start and falling behind early, Gilboa Galil shifted into another gear in the second quarter and never looked back. This loss caused mayhem in the Holon locker room after the game when star player Glen Rice Jr. punched teammate Guy Pnini in the face. Rice Jr. has subsequently been released from the ballclub for his erratic behavior. It was the usual three of D’Angelo Harrison (18 points, 5 rebounds), J’Covan Brown (32 points, 11 assists), and Zach LeDay (30 points, 10 rebounds) who led the way for Gilboa Galil. Joaquin Szuchman pitched in a double-double of his own scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 boards.
Although the end of the night ended with getting himself kicked off the team, Glen Rice Jr. went out with a bang with a near triple-double. He finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists in the loss. Former NBA lottery pick Joe Alexander pitched in 19 points and Tu Holloway had a respectable game with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. Hapoel Holon will look to move on from Glen Rice Jr. as they face Hapoel Jerusalem next.
Hapoel Eilat 83-73 Nahariya
It was a close contest for the duration of the game, but Hapoel Eilat pulled away in the second half to knock off Nahariya 83-73. Youngster Jordan Loyd led all scorers with 25 points and Demetrius treadwell had 15 points and 7 boards en route to the victory. Eric Griffin (14 points, 6 assists) provided scoring help off the bench that Eilat had been searching for for much of the season and are now finally seeing more of. For Nahariya, Alex Young played nearly the entire game and finished with 22 points. 22 year-old Yiftach Ziv had 14 points and 8 assists, but there was a lack of star power and Nahariya fell just short of a win. Hapoel Eilat will face Maccabi Rishon on April 12th and Nahariya will have an extra few days to prepare before they get a crack at Maccabi Rishon on the 16th.
Hapoel Jerusalem 78-86 Bnei Herzliya
Herzliya was able to pull off a dramatic upset over Hapoel Jerusalem in a contest that needed an extra period to determine the winner. Jeff Adrien led all scorers with 31 points and had 10 rebounds as well. The already accomplished 24 year old Shawn Dawson had 19 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists in the victory and veteran Taurean Green provided 15 points of his own off the bench. For Jerusalem, it was former NC State star Richard Howell who got the bulk of the scoring with 19 points. Veteran Stratos Perperoglou from Greece contributed 16 points off the bench, but not much seemed to be working for Jerusalem as they struggled to pull away and they ultimately failed to beat a lowly Herzliya team. Hapoel Jerusalem will be the first to play Hapoel Holon without Glen Rice Jr. and Herzliya will face Maccabi Ashdod next.
Maccabi Ashdod 97-79 Nes Ziona
Maccabi Ashdod took care of business as they handily beat Nes Ziona by a score of 97-79. After going up 16 points at the end of one quarter, Ashdod never even gave Nes Ziona hope of creeping back into the game. Sek Henry handled the load as usual and finished with 23 points and 10 assists. Ashdod did have some trouble with turning the ball over but were still dominant throughout the contest. Daequan Cook led all scorers with 28 points for Nes Ziona but did not have any help aside from 13 points from Khalif Wyatt. In what was an overall lousy game for Nes Ziona, Coach Nadav Silberstein may need to make some changes in the future if he wants to have a chance. Maccabi Ashdod looks to keep rolling against Herzliya next and Nes Ziona will look to upset Hapoel Tel Aviv in their next matchup.