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Top Players & Top Stories of the Israel Basketball Week – Gameday 15

Daniel Levine’s Top 5 Players of the Week
1) Zach LeDay, Gilboa Galil (32p, 12r, 3st, 2a, 2b)
2) Murphy Holloway, Maccabi Rishon (14p, 17r, 7a, 4st, +18)
3) Sek Henry, Maccabi Ashdod (22p, 6a, 5r)
4) Jonathan Skjoldebrand, Ironi Nahariya (21p, 5r, 2a, 2st, 5/6 3p)
5) Jake Cohen, Maccabi Tel Aviv (17p, 15r, +17)

Daniel Levine’s Top 3 Stories of the Week
Maccabi Ashdod overcomes big deficit to upset Hapoel Jerusalem
Led by a big game from Sek Henry and Nimrod Levi off the bench, Ashdod had a big second half and knocked off Jerusalem. Big win for Ashdod as they gain on Jerusalem in the standings.

Does Hapoel Eilat need help off the bench?
In their loss to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Coach Drucker of Eilat opted to use only the veteran Isaac Rosefelt off the bench. In a game in which a win was easily in reach, perhaps the starters were tired. Extended minutes could also have a long term impact for Eilat as the season progresses. With the signing of Eric Griffin, hopefully Drucker will be able to expand his rotation.

Ironi Nahariya loses to lowly Herzliya and is carried by their bench as only one starter scores in double digits.
Starter Alex Young finished with 10 points but other than that, Nahariya relied on Skjoldebrand and Corey Webster to even have chance against a team they definitely should have beaten.

Alex Krasnow’s Top 5 players of the week:
1) Murphy Holloway (14p, 17r, 7a, 35 VAL)
2) Zach Leday (32p, 12r, 36 VAL)
3) Jake Cohen (17p, 15r, +17, 30 VAL)
4) Nimrod Levi (12p, 11r, +/- of +25 in a 9 point win)
5) Joe Alexander (19p, 5r, +/- of +17, 18 VAL)

Alex Krasnow’s Top 3 Stories of the Week:
What got into Murphy Holloway?
Murphy Holloway is under no circumstances a bad player. Averaging 12.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on the year shows a solid player able to contribute to a winning team. But this week Holloway took on the role of a star, putting up an incredible state line of 14 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 assists. Fighting for a spot in the playoffs, currently sitting at the #7 seed, Rishon Le’Zion will hope for more performances like this one from their teams top big man.

Does Jake Cohen deserve to start?
After another great showing for Maccabi Tel Aviv, has Jake Cohen earned the right to start? Ranked #3 in the league at +/-, Cohen has proven time and again the effect he has on every game is real, regardless of what shows up on the stat line. His stats for the year won’t jump out at you (9 points, 6 rebounds, 1.4 assists) but when he’s been on the court this season, Tel Aviv has outscored their opponents by 105 points. Sitting at the top of the standings there is no reason to think this rotation change will happen anytime soon. However, if they begin to slip, Coach Spahija may look at Cohen to change things up in the starting unit.

Nahariya, Eilat as Close as it Gets in Battle for the 8 Seed
With the playoffs just around the corner, the competition for teams trying to make the playoffs is heating up. Currently Nahariya is sitting not-so-comfortably at 8, with Eilat on their tail at 9. While the teams have the same record, Nahariya has the higher seed because of the beatdown they but on Eilat in week 14, winning 88-61. In the next 3 weeks, both of these teams will play 2 playoff teams and two teams out of contention. All eyes are on these teams as the tension and pressure to make the playoffs only goes up.

The Sports Rabbi’s Top 5 Players of the Week
1) Nimrod Levi (12p, 11r, +/- of +25 in a 9 point win)
2) Jake Cohen (17p, 15r, +17, 30 VAL)
3) Adrian Banks (17p)
4) Shlomi Harush (5/6 from 3) & Guy Pnini (VAL 22)
5) Zach LeDay (32p, 12r, 36 VAL)

The Sports Rabbi’s Top 3 Stories of the Week
Holon has firepower and lots of it
Dan Shamir’s Hapoel Holon has plenty of scoring after dropping 101 against Gilboa/Galil and that was without injured players Glen Rice Jr. and Corey Walden. With an 8 man rotation, 4 players scored 17 points or more and it was good to see Shlomi Harush pick up season highs in minutes and points. Guy Pnini also seems to be getting back his 3-point stroke shooting 7/14 from long distance over the past 2 games.

Ashdod’s defense
Maccabi Ashdod under the direction of Brad Greenberg played absolutely outstanding defense in their win over Hapoel Jerusalem. Every person I spoke to after the game said that the defense has been the main key to their success. Can they beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in the State Cup semifinals and will their defense be tough enough to pull off the surprise? The one thing I’ll say is that I’ve seen Greenberg all over Yad Eliyahu this past month and you know exactly what he’s been up to. Trying to find a weakness that he’ll be able to expose.

Haifa, Haifa
Ofer Rahimi’s team is a walking disaster zone and 6 losses will do that as they sit tied for last place with a 4-11 record. Nothing seems to be working for the Greens from veterans Dagan Yivzuri and Guni Israeli to youngsters Roie Huber and Fredric Bourdillon. Angel Rodriguez and Reginald Buckner can just do so much for Haifa as others need to contribute. The question is can they?