Clutch baskets down stretch helps Maccabi down Hapoel 84-76 to take 1-0 Tel Aviv Derby championship series lead

Jun 13, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv dropped Hapoel Tel Aviv 84-76 to move to within one win of the Israel League Championship. After a back and forth game for three quarters the yellow-and-blue came alive in the final frame as Bonzie Colson scored points a plenty down the stretch to close out the game and notch the victory.

Bonzie Colson – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Hapoel Tel Aviv played with a very short rotation and suffered injuries during the game itself to cut down Stefanos Dedas’s options even further but the Greek tactician was able to counter Oded Katash’s every move for close to 35 minutes to keep the score even as Xavier Munford, Jaylen Hoard and Tyler Ennis matched Josh Nebo, Jasiel Rivero and Colson. However, as the game wound down, Lorenzo Brown hit a 3-pointer while Colson did the same and added a points a plenty to move into the leas for good and take the game one win.

Bonzie Colson – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Colson scored 18 points, Nebo added 15 points and 9 rebounds and Rivero chipped in with 12 points in the victory. Munford led Hapoel with 20 points, Hoard scored 15 points and grabbed 11 boards and Ennis scored 14 points in the loss.

Oded Katash – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

“The game is how we expected it to be with a lot of pressure,” Maccabi Tel Aviv Head Coach Oded Katash said. “It was a fast paced game which we like to play but we weren’t aggressive enough, but we really played good defense in the fourth and that was what won the game. The pressure is on us in a best-of-3 game series. We held onto the ball well down the stretch and it wasn’t the nicest basketball game that was played but we ended up winning.”

Stefanos Dedas – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

“We have been in this situation before with our backs against the wall,” Hapoel Head Coach Stefanos Dedas said. “The semifinals built some character and if we correct some mistakes, going back home with our fans we can tie the series. We had a good game plan both on defense and offense and kept us in the game for 37 minutes and we could have won the game.”

Jake Cohen – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Jake Cohen reflected on the win, “We got some big time performances by Lorenzo Brown and Bonzie Colson. We did a good job getting stops and they only scored 16 points in the fourth quarter which was a big time improvement, we buckled down in the fourth and that was huge.”

Tomer Ginat – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Tomer Ginat looked back at the game, “Maccabi is a good team and we were in the game. We were where we wanted to be, but a pair of triples from Lorenzo Brown and big baskets by Bonzie Colson made the difference. The game plan worked for the most part and we are going into Saturday night to win the game.”

Bar Timor – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Bonzie Colson and Josh Nebo got busy for Maccabi Tel Aviv as Bar Timor drilled home a triple and Kyle Alexander scored inside for Hapoel Tel Aviv as the game got off to a frantic start, Tyler Ennis and Jake Cohen traded baskets and John Dibartolomeo and Timor each scored from deep as the reds held a slim 14-13 lead midway through the first quarter. Lorenzo Brown went to the hood for his first points of the game, Xavier Munford scored at the other end, Cohen went from downtown, Nebo dunked, Munford drilled home a pair of 3-pointers and Jaylen Hoard scored inside as Hapoel continued to lead by a point, 26-25 after ten minutes of play.

Josh Nebo – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Jasiel Rivero begin the second quarter with points, Rafi Menco went from deep, Hoard answered with a pair of buckets inside, Rivero put in a mini-hook, Tomer Ginat drilled home a triple, Colson did the same, Tyler Ennis scored a layup and Nebo put in a pair of baskets to give the yellow-and-blue a 43-38 advantage at halftime.

Xavier Munford – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Ginat began the third quarter from deep, Munford added a layup, Colson put in a deuce, Hoard put in a 3-point play, Sorkin scored on a hook shot and Ennis scored a floater as Stefanos Dedas’s team grabbed a 51-48 lead midway through the period. Ginat scored, Dibartolomeo drilled home a triple, Braian Angola dunked Sorkin dialled up long distance, Menco did the same, Ennis dropped in a floater and Timor nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer the knot the score up at 60-60 after thirty minutes of action.

Lorenzo Brown – Photo credit: Dov Halickman

Dibartolomeo drilled a triple to begin the fourth quarter, Hoard put in an acrobatic deuce, Brown nailed a 3-pointer, Ginat scored inside while Colson and Munford hit free throws to keep the game all even at 68-68 with five minutes remaining in regulation time. Brown and Colson went from deep, Colson then hit a turnaround and a midrange jumper and Rivero added a trio of baskets to close out the win.

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