Gilboa Galil stuns Maccabi Tel Aviv 79-70! Blackshear & Thomasson star & how teams prepare for the Yellow & Blue!

Hapoel Gilboa Galil stunned Maccabi Tel Aviv 79-70 in a dominating performance by Avishay Gordon’s squad at Yad Eliyahu. Kerry Blackshear and Joe Thomasson used timely shooting and aggressive play to back the yellow-and-blue into a corner and cancel out a big game in the paint by Ante Zizic. Gilboa went 22/24 from the free throw line as well as 11/25 from beyond the arc for an efficient offensive performance while playing airtight defense limiting Maccabi’s shooters to a 4/23 game from the outside.

Blackshear scored 22 points, Joe Thommason added 19 points and 6 assists while Yotam Hanochi chipped in with 11 points for Gilboa. Ante Zizic led Maccabi with 23 points and Elijah Bryant scored 12 points in the loss.

Joe Thomasson – Photo Credit:

After a very slow start by both teams Gilboa Galil grabbed a 16-14 lead over Maccabi Tel Aviv as Joe Thomasson, Yotam Hanochi and Amit Gershon all hit 3-pointers while Chris Jones paced the yellow-and-blue with 4 points.

Ante Zizic got busy inside while John Dibartolomeo and Jones also found points but Hanochi, Isaiah Cousins and Kerry Blackshear countered for Gilboa as they stayed in front 25-24 midway through the second quarter. Thomasson scored a jumper in the key and added free throws as Zizic and Othello Hunter scored in the paint for Maccabi, but the visitors took a 34-30 advantage into halftime.

Amit Gershon and Chris Jones – Photo Credit:

Dragan Bender scored form deep, Zizic continued to pound the ball inside and Elijah Bryant added points in the paint off a missed shot but Gershon from ling distance and a Jeheyve Floyd dunk kept Gilboa ahead 44-40 midway through the third quarter. Hanochi nailed a pair from deep, Bryant, Zizic and Oz Blayzer answered for Maccabi as Hunter free throws put Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad in the lead 57-55 after thirty minutes.

Dori Sahar hit a triple but Floyd, Blackshear and Thomasson from deep put Avidhay Gordon’s team back in the lead 62-60 with 7:08 remaining in the fourth quarter. Hunter was ejected for arguing with the referees as Thomasson continued to punish Maccabi with another 3-pointer and free throws, Blackshear powered inside with more points, Bryant was called for an unsportsmanlike foul as Iftach Ziv drilled home a triple to wrap up a 79-70 win.

Kerry Blackshear – Photo Credit:

Credit Where Credit Is Due

Gotta give a huge amount of credit to Hapoel Gilboa Galil and head coach Avishay Gordon for going into Tel Aviv and knocking off the defending league champs in dominating style. On both ends of the floor Gilboa was lethal, defensively they stifled the yellow-and-blue while making sure they took care of business inside and outside plus most importantly from the charity stripe going 22/24 with the two misses coming on the final two free throws of the game. Gordon who fell in his Israeli league debut earlier in the week against Maccabi Haifa picked up his first win against Maccabi and which was something which wasn’t even a dream just a few weeks ago, “It wouldn’t have made sense to me 2 months ago that I would be here in the position to beat Maccabi here today. That’s the beauty of this sport. We saw a team who played to its advantages, but most importantly was our defense and body language.”

Keryy Blackshear – Photo Credit:

Playing Greatness

Gilboa came in ready to go and made sure to lay it all out on the line against the Euroleague squad. Every Gilboa player came in with fire in their eyes and prepared for battle while the Maccabi players looked less than interested in competing on a Friday afternoon in the middle of the winter. When an opposing player comes to tipoff against Maccabi they know that all the basketball eyes around Israel and in fact Europe are watching. They are aware that a good game will elevate their stock across the continent as Kerry Blackshear who had his best game as a pro explained, “The win feels good. Maccabi represents greatness to be able to beat them, a team we know of from the US in a really nice gym, it’s really big for us. We had good energy and communication on the floor and the guys told me to just play confident.” As for coming in prepared for battle, Gordon also reflected on that part of the game, “That’s the beauty of this game. Last week we lost to Haifa and today we beat a team that is super good and strong. It shows on us how we need to come ready for every game. I’m very happy, it brings me back some feelings from the past.”

To dig deeper into a player’s understanding as what it means to come in and play against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Oz Blayzer who played versus the Yellow & Blue on many occasions explained exactly what that, “When you come to Yad Eliyahu you want to win and we allowed them to have that feeling. very player wants to be here and they are very motivated to play. We had to come with intensity and give it our all and I understand this as a player that used to play against Maccabi and how we prepared for a game against them.”

Joe Thomasson and Chris Jones – Photo Credit:

No Power

Maccabi played this game as flat as pancake with absolutely zero energy, desire and drive, Instead of coming into the contest with the will to win despite being without Scottie Wilbekin, Tyler Dorsey and Angelo Caloairo who were the players that didn’t dress, Maccabi missed shot after shot after shot and were mentally nowheres in the correct time zone. Hunter was ejected for arguing with the officials, Yovel Zoosman went an abysmal 1/7 from the field while also picked up a technical foul, John Dibartolomeo couldn’t hit the side of the barn going 2/11 and Chris Jones was 3/9. The only player to show up was Ante Zizic which wasn’t going to be enough for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad, “I want to congratulate Gilboa and how they were prepared. They showed from the first moment that they want to play hard and win the game. We knew Gilboa was a tough team. Offensively we were not good and I think the misses show we were not ready mentally. We missed some good passes, we did not read the game well and did not play together. It’s a good lesson to us how to be prepared and how to come play these games.” Oz Blayzer also spork about the defeat, “We had no energy and our defense was ok, but offensively weren’t there and we had no energy at all.”

Oz Blayzer and Bar Timor – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Derby On Tap

On Sunday Maccabi plays at Hapoel Tel Aviv in yet another Derby, this time in league play. Last game between the two saw the Yellow & Blue blow out the Reds in a State Cup matchup, but that probably won’t be the case this time as Hapoel will come in with a full roster and ready tot go. But of course, Maccabi will be a wounded animal and that will be a dangerous proposition for Ioannis Kastritis’s team as Sfairopoulos will have a number of choice words for his players, We should learn from this game and play completely different for the next game. Some players need to change mentally how to play the game as well.” Blayzer spoke about moving on and changing gears for Sunday’s clash, “We have a Derby on Sunday and we have to put this game behind us, use it as a lesson and make sure we come out strong against Hapoel Tel Aviv.”

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