Beer Sheva picks up huge win over Eilat, Haifa drops Afula, Nes Ziona comeback downs Herzliya

May 16, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Beer Sheva sunk Hapoel Eilat 100-91 to move further away from the relegation zone as six players scored in double digits in the victory. Oren Aharoni’s squad jumped all over Eilat out of the gate in a critical relegation battle as Joaquin Szuchman, JaKeenan Gant, Grant Sherfield and Kris Bankston all scored in bunches as Elijah Stewart and JaJuan Johnson countered for the visitors but the hosts grabbed a 50-40 lead at the break.

Lewis, Gant and Sherfield all kept scoring as the game entered the second half while Johnson, Stewart and Deishuan Booker couldn’t close they gap as the southern reds took the win. Gant scored 23 points, Szuchman added 19 points, Lewis scored 18 points and Sherfield chipped in with 13 points in the win. Johnson scored 26 points, Stewart added 24 points while Booker chipped in with 23 points in the loss.

“First of all this win is a feeling of relief, we came very, very well prepared for this game,” Aharoni said. “All in all we dominated the whole game and did our thing. Eilat are a very, very talented team, but in the end we made the last run and made big baskets. Defensively we did a good job, baskets like Johnson’s with a hand in his face are the qualities of great players. Szuchman? It’s been a long time, but in my beginning I was also looking for stability. I’m very happy with the way he’s playing, after he barely played he’s back and he’s a significant piece for us. I really hope that I keep the team in the league, it will be a hard fight until the end.”

“Not hard feelings, only emotions at the end,” Eilat heard coach Juice Golemac said. “I didn’t feel like the refereeing was good so I expressed that. After the game finishes I don’t blame anyone else. We gave up 100 points, we are missing a rotation. We didn’t give up but there were some mistakes, injuries and tiredness, they were better than us and deserved to win. This team for sure has what it takes to stay in the league, if no then I wouldn’t have been here.”

The game MVP Joaquin Szuchman spoke about the emotional win, “The tears? I cried during the game but I hid them well, it’s not about basketball, there are many people I like in this club and I played for them, not for me. It’s a crazy season, not related to basketball, a lot of personal things, with the club and the country. I will give my soul, heart and body for the team to survive in the league.”

Hapoel Haifa downed Hapoel Afula 88-80 thanks to a huge second half comeback to take the win. Afula jumped out to a 47-39 halftime lead as Cassius Stanley and Lukas Goldenberg paced the visitors while Alex Hamilton and Marcus Bingham did the same for Haifa. However, Guy Goodes’s squad came storming back in the second half as Dakari Tucker, Hamilton and Bingham took control of the game and kept Stanley and Marcellus Earlington at bay to take the 8-point victory. Hamilton led the way with 23 points, Tucker scored 20 points and Bingham added 18 points in the win. Stanley scored 17 points and Earlington scored 14 points in the loss.

Nes Ziona dropped Bnei Herzliya 91-75 as the visitors went into the third quarter down by 8 points and ended it with a 12 point lead to snatch the win. Nine players scored in the first half for Bnei Herzliya in a balanced attack led by Tyler Stone, Brown Williams and Ethan Burg as Nes Ziona’s Isaiah Whitehead and Rawls Alkins tried to keep the visitors close, but the hosts held a 41-33 lead at halftime. But a 39-19 third quarter for Nes Ziona paced by George King, Kyle Feit along with Alkins and Whitehead gave the visitors the lead for good as they rolled to a 91-75 win. Alkins scored 22 points while Whitehead and King each added 19 points in the win. Williams scored 22 points and Stone chipped in with 13 points in the loss.

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