Hapoel Beer Sheva surprised Nes Ziona 97-92 to collect their second win in a row for head coach Lior Lubin. The southern reds came out strong and took the game right from the get go to Elad Hasin’s squad as they controlled the pace of play throughout as well as in the waning moments of the matchup. Nes Ziona was almost able to draw even at 92-92 late in the game but MVP David Efiyani scored an important bucket down the stretch to take the victory.
Efiyani led the way with 33 points, Ben Moore checked in with a 13 point and 14 rebound double double while Khalil Ahmad and Netta Segal each scored 13 points a piece in the win. CJ Williams scored 23 points, Shaw Buchanan added 19 points, Tyler bey chipped in with 15 points and DJ Cooper score 13 points and dished out 19 assists in the defeat.
“We were able to get the good things together for this game,” Lubin said. “We had played two exhibition matches against Nes Ziona and they were very close just like this one which was almost an identical replay. We kept our cool those two minutes down the stretch and we were also over the foul limit but we were able to take the win.”
Efiyani also reflected on the win, “We started a bit slow and the last couple of minutes we played into their hands and played a bit sloppy, but we got the win. As for my performance, the key was being aggressive and take what the defense gave me and feed off of the guys.”
Hapoel Holon downed Kiryat Ata 97-85 up north to get back onto the winning track after falling in Basketball Champions League play earlier in the week. Guy Goodes’s squad came out flying in the first quarter and jumped out to a 24-8 lead thanks to fine play by Chris Johnson and Erick Green. But Sharon Avrahami’s squad came storming back to cut the advantage to just 1-point, 38-37 at halftime with Chavaughn Lewis and Diante Garrett leading the way. In the second half Joe Ragland took the bull by the horns and scored 22 points to lead the purples to the double digit win.
Ragland led all scorers with 25 points, Johnson added 22 points and Green chipped in with 21 points in the win. Lewis paced the hosts with 18 points while Diante Garrett and Yotam Hanochi each scored 14 points in the loss.
“We didn’t defend well enough in the second half of the game,” Avrahami said. “We concerned ourselves with fouls that were and weren’t and Ragland put on a show in the second half. We played well with a lineup with three big men which helped us comeback but and we stayed with them for the most part.”
Game MVP Chris Johnson spoke about the keys to win, “Just playing defense which is what coach emphasized. The last few minutes we kept our poised and shared the ball. I stayed confident and we had to play better from the Champions League game. I had a chip on my shoulder and I wanted to help the team win and that is what matters.”
Hapoel Haifa sunk Hapoel Eilat 94-79 down south by the Red Sea as Sharon Drucker’s team came back to win after a defeat last week at Nes Ziona. Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad jumped out to an early lead on the strength of Eric Griffin and Netanel Artzi, but by halftime the Carmel Reds grabbed a slim 47-45 advantage with Anthony Hickey leading the way. The second half was all Haifa as Kadeem Allen notched his career high in points while Devonte Upson found points inside and Hickey continued his fine play to take the victory.
Allen led the way with 27 points, Hickey added 22 points, 8 assists and 4 steals while Upson chipped in with 13 points in the win. Artzi paced Eilat with 19 points and Griffin scored 18 points in the loss.