Hapoel Holon tops Maccabi Tel Aviv 88-82 in passionate victory; Galil Elyon wins on buzzer beater, Beer Sheva prevails

Hapoel Holon defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv 88-82 in an energetic back and forth battle as the hosts were just a bit too much to handle for the reigning Israeli league champions. The yellow-and-blue raced out to a 27-19 lead after the first quarter as Derrick Williams led the way but Holon came storming back in the second frame with strong play from the game’s MVP Chris Johnson to grab a 43-40 lead at the break. The second half saw Maurizio Buscaglia’s team in control as Joe Ragland, Niv Nisgav and Steven Gray all scored from beyond the arc while Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team struggled from deep as Holon sealed the deal to take the hard earned victory.

Johnson scored 14 points and pulled down 9 rebounds, Steven Gray added 14 points, Joe Ragland chipped in with 13 points and Michale Kyser put in 12 points in the win. Derrick Williams led Maccabi with 18 points and Jalen Reynolds scored 15 points in the defeat.

Maurizio Buscaglia – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We are very happy with the win in a high level matchup,” Holon Coach Maurizio Buscaglia said following the win. “We spoke about desire and high energy and my players did that getting important rebounds, playing without the ball along with sharing the ball. Every game we end up finding an advantage and we always have a next possession mentality.”

Ioannis Sfairopoulos – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos also reflected on the game that was, “We didn’t have great concentration as to what we planned especially defensively where we weren’t focused enough. We started the game with great effort and scored 27 points, but from the second quarter we lost our concentration and let our opponents score easy points. It’s hard to win when you allow the home team to score 88 points.”

Chris Johnson – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We came out strong and fought hard,” Chris Johnson said. “I told my players not to get caught up with the refs and just stay focused on the task at hand. We brought energy that we didn’t have in the last game against Jerusalem. You have to bring it every night.”

Derrick Williams & Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Maccabi Tel Aviv came out dishing and swishing as Roman Sorkin and Keenan Evans scored a pair of easy layups thanks to assist by Iftach Ziv while Derrick Williams drained a pair of 3-pointers to give the yellow-and-blue an early 12-6 lead midway through the first quarter. Rafi Menco drilled home a corner triple for Hapoel Holon and added points in the paint, Michale Kyser put down a pair of dunks but James Nunnally drained a 3-pointer to keep Maccabi in front 27-19 after ten minutes of play.

Jalen Reynolds powered in a layup, Chris Johnson took a Mark Ogden baseline pass and scored as well while Johnson and Niv Misgav added points to cut the lead to 33-29 with five minutes remaining in the second quarter. Guy Pnini put in a bucket, Joe Ragland went in for an uncontested layup, Johnson went from deep and Kyser hit a jumper to give Maurizio Buscaglia’s squad a 43-40 lead at halftime.

Niv Misgav – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Sorkin scored in the paint, Johnson countered at the other end while Misgav swished a 3-pointer to keep Holon in front 51-47 midway through the third quarter. Williams scored a corner triple for Ioannis Sfairpoulos’s squad, Angelo Caloiaro added points, Ragland went from downtown, Reynolds and Ogden traded buckets in the paint but Misgav dialed up long distance again to give Holon a 65-62 advantage after thirty minutes of action.

Frederic Bourdillon and Steven Gray – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Reynolds and Caloiaro opened the fourth quarter with points, Steven Gray and Frederic Bourdillon hit their first triples of the game to bump the lead up to 71-66 with 7:17 left in regulation time. Ogden put points in the paint, Ragland put in a 3-pointer, Gray nailed a pair of triples while Williams and Sorkin tried to keep Maccabi hanging around. John DiBartolomeo went from deep for his first points of the game, Ragland found Kyser for a dunk and Johnson put in free throws to wrap up the 6-point victory.

Hapoel Galil Elyon outlasted Hapoel Tel Aviv 99-97 as Ike Iroegbu drilled home a game winning triple at the buzzer to stun the hosts. Barak Peleg’s Galilee squad jumped all over the Reds in the first half and with the help of Chavaughn Lewis and Nimrod Levi took a commanding 53-38 lead into the third quarter.

But Danny Franco’s squad came roaring back as J’Covan Brown dictated the pace over the final two frames to take a 90-83 lead with just under two minutes to go. However, Iroegbu scored 11 points over the final 1:54 of the game including a game winning 3-pointer at the buzzer to snatch the win from the jaws of defeat. Iroegbu scored 23 points while Levi and Lewis each scored 19 points in the win. Brown paced Hapoel with 31 points in the loss.

Iroegbu spoke to The Jerusalem Post about the exciting victory, “It was crazy. I had the ball and I saw that there was 5 seconds left and James Young was on me. I made a move that me and assistant coach Avishay Gordon practice all the time and I shot it and it went in at the buzzer. It was perhaps the wildest end I’ve been apart of. We stayed connected and came out with the win.”

Hapoel Beer Sheva downed Bnei Herzliya 91-85 as the duo of Dererk Pardon and Junior Etou scored a combined 63 points to take the win on the road. The hosts took a 46-42 lead into halftime but Rami Hadar’s squad played suffocating defense in the third quarter to hold Herzliya to only 12 points as they grabbed the away victory. Etou led the way with 33 points Pardon scored 30 points and took 9 rebounds while Cody Demps chipped in with 11 points. Chris Babb paced Herzliya with 22 points and Quinton Hooker added 18 points in the loss.

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