Hapoel Jerusalem 82-75 Hapoel Holon
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Bnei Herzliya 72-74 Maccabi Ashdod
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Rishon Le’Zion 73-66 Hapoel Eilat
Hapoel Eilat stuck with Maccabi Rishon for the duration of the contest, but ultimately Rishon came out on top 73-66. Eilat fell behind early and remained a just a few points behind for the entire game but they were unable to put together a little run and take the lead. Inserted back into the starting lineup, Murphy Holloway led the way for Rishon with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Reliable veteran Drew Crawford came off the bench in this one and pitched in 16 points and 9 rebounds. Avi Ben Chimol was relatively quiet despite playing for 37 minutes. Eilat was led by Demetrius Treadwell (17 points, 6 rebounds) and Eric Griffin (13 points, 9 rebounds) off the bench in their defeat. Niv Berkowitz, who only played 17 minutes, seemed to have a negative impact on the court as he finished with a plus/minus of -24.
Nes Ziona 92-75 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Nes Ziona rallied to an impressive victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv 92-75. Nes Ziona had a much improved second half as they held Tel Aviv to only 30 points compared to their 45 in the first half. They also scored 54 points in the second half compared to the 38 points they scored in the first. Daequan Cook led all scorers off the bench for Nes Ziona with 26 points. Nigerian-born Talib Zanna also had a big day as he scored 21 points to go with 9 boards. Despite being up by 7 at the half, nobody excelled enough to keep Tel Aviv in the game as Nes Ziona pulled away. Adrian Banks, Raviv Limonad, and Matt Howard all had solid outings, but they needed some help they were unable to get.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 81-79 Hapoel Gilboa/Galil
Gilboa Galil handed Maccabi Tel Aviv a tough loss 81-79 in an exciting finish. While Gilboa Galil came away victorious, they owe a big thank you to Michael Roll and Jake Cohen for missing open shots and free throws in the final minute of regulation. Zach Leday, who played the entire game, led all scorers with 24 points and was putting on a show with multiple dunks in a row in the second half. The other two members of the big three, J’Covan Brown (16 points, 7 assists) and D’Angelo Harrison (11 points), also had big enough outings to get the win.
Maccabi Tel Aviv was thin at point guard with Pierre Jackson and John Dibartolomeo out with injuries, and Norris Cole was not up to the task of stepping up without them. Cole only finished with 8 points and 3 assists and obviously needed to do more for his team to win. Deshaun Thomas had a big game with 20 points and 6 boards as he shot an efficient 83% from the field and connected on 3 of 6 threes. Michael Roll finished with 17 points and 6 assists but missed a wide open 3-pointer in the final minute that perhaps would have changed the end result.
Nahariya 72-87 Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion
Nahariya defeated Rishon 87-72 in a battle between two teams at the bottom of the table. Sitting only 1 seed above the relegation line, Nahariya’s Alex Young (21 points, 5 assists) and Anthony Barber (20 points) led the team to the upset victory over a team in Maccabi Rishon that is still fighting for playoff position. While Keith Langford’s 20 points kept the game close for Rishon, their inability to hit free throws was the downfall of their game as they shot an abysmal 18/32 from the free throw stripe. In a league this competitive you can’t expect to win if you aren’t hitting the free shots.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 91-78 Bnei Herzliya
The #5 ranked Hapoel Tel Aviv defeated 10th seeded Herzliya 91-78. Though they did lose the game by double digits, Herzliya did outrebound their opponent 45-33 and had 4 players score in double digits. Tel Aviv was led by a solid game from Tony Gaffney (22 points, 7 assists), and an efficient team offense throughout. The difference in the game was 2 point shooting and free throw shooting. The mixture between Herzliya shooting only 47% from two point and 65% from the free throw ended up being their downfall as their inability to score efficiently led to them taking another loss and another game further away from being in playoff contention.
Maccabi Ashdod 85-74 Maccabi Haifa
Maccabi Ashdod cruised to a victory over the lowly Maccabi Haifa, 85-74. Each quarter was played pretty evenly with the exception of the second quarter where Ashdod was able to nearly double the point total of Haifa. Ben McCauley and Nimrod Levi led the game with 19 points a piece. The veteran McCauley, a former player at NC State, finished with 6 rebounds as well in 29 minutes on the court and Levi had 12 boards of his own. Sek Henry had a typical game of 16 points and 9 assists while Cameron Long provided 17 points off the bench. Haifa took care of the ball and only had 7 turnovers, but they shot poorly from 3-point range, only shooting 25%. Reginald Buckner led his team in scoring with only 14 points which on most nights will not get it done.
Hapoel Eilat 90-81 Nes Ziona
Hapoel Eilat took down Nes Ziona in a contest that saw Eilat leading for most of the contest until the 4th quarter. Trailing by 12 at the half, Eilat was able to battle back and ultimately win by a score of 90-81. Amit Simhon finished with a game-high 21 points and also had 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Frederic Bourdillon and Eric Griffin combined for a much needed 23 points from the bench. For Nes Ziona, Khalif Wyatt led his club in scoring with 16 points while Golan Gutt and Gary Browne Ramirez provided 14 points each, but the team didn’t share the ball well and only had 14 assists compared to Eilat’s 23. Better shooting from the foul line may have been all Nes Ziona needed to come out on top as they only shot 13 of 25 from the line and lost the game by 9.