Hapoel Tel Aviv’s Double Derby Delight as the Reds stun Maccabi 78-77

Jan 24, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Tel Aviv stunned Maccabi Tel Aviv 78-77 to win the big derby for the second time in as many months at the Drive In Arena. The Reds, who played the game without star guard J’Covan Brown battled the yellow-and-blue possession by possession as their fans gave the team everything they had to help will them to the shocking victory. The win marked Hapoel’s 5th in a row as they moved into 5th place with 8 wins and 6 losses while Maccabi dropped to 6th place with the identical record.

JP Tokoto and James Young set the tone early on for Danny Franco’s team as the duo did the heavy lifting for the Reds all game as they paced the home team with a combined 45 throughout the 40 minutes. Jake Cohen and John Dibartolomeo tried to keep Maccabi close with terrific second half outside shooting, but missed free throws by Scottie Wilbekin in money time along with a potential game winner that came up short sent Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad to a devastating loss ahead of a critical double game Euroleague week.

Maccabi will now ready for a Tuesday visit by ALBA Berlin along with their two Israelis in former yellow-and-blue swingman Yovel Zoosman and Tamir Blatt and on Thursday they will welcome Fenerbahce from Turkey.

Raz Adam – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Tokoto scored 24 points, Young added 21 points and Bar Timor who was credited with the winning basket scored 8 points in the victory. Cohen scored 16 points while Wilbekin added 13 points and Ante Zizic chipped in with 12 points in the loss.

“This was a very intense game and it’s not just any type of game for the club,” explained Hapoel coach Danny Franco. “This was a win where we battled and gave our lives for. We may not have played great basketball but we played winning basketball. We won this game with our big heart.”

Ante Zizic- photo credit: Basket.co.il

“It’s a bad loss and we wanted to win the game,” a dejected Maccabi coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos said. “The worst thing was our performance and I didn’t expect that we would play so bad. We missed some layups and free throws that were decisive and the last shot that was open and Hapoel won the game.”

James Young and JP Tokoto scored early for Hapoel Tel Aviv as the Reds were without guard J’Covan Brown to take a 7-4 lead midway through the first quarter while Scottie Wilbekin and Roman Sorkin helped Maccabi Tel Aviv comeback and grab a 16-15 advantage after ten minutes.

JP Tokoto – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Danny Franco’s squad started to heat up from the outside with Raz Adam and Bar Timor hitting 3-pointers while Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s team did the same via Oz Blayzer and Wilbekin as the score was knotted up at 26-26 with 5 minutes left in the second quarter. Idan Zalmanson scored inside and from the outside, Zizic found points in the paint but JP Tokoto kept pouring in points including a triple at the buzzer to give Hapoel a 38-30 lead at halftime.

Tokoto continued his scoring spree and Egor Koulechov put in his first points as a member of Hapoel Tel Aviv to begin the third quarter while Zizic, Sorkin and Keenan Evans countered at the other end as Maccabi cut the lead to 45-40 midway through the period. It began to rain 3’s as Jake Cohen drilled a quartet and John Dibartolomeo added one of his own but Gil Beni and Young matched them while Tokoto hit his free throws to keep the reds in front 62-58 after thirty minutes.

Bar Timor and Gil Beni – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Maccabi started to mount a comeback as the fourth quarter got underway with points from Zizic, DiBartolomeo to tie up the game at 65-65 with seven minutes remaining. Cohen dialled up long distance once again from his sweet spot right above the key, Dibartolomeo did the same but Young came right back with with points and a layup and one to put Hapoel back in front 76-74 with under a minute to go. Zizic scored in the paint but Bar Timor did as well while Wilbekin hit one of two from the line and then missed the potential game winner in the paint as Hapoel won their second derby in a row.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion downed Nes Ziona 79-68 to pick up their 3rd win of the season and begin to claw out from the bottom of the standings. Dror Cohen’s team was in full control throughout the 40 minutes as Tu Holloway had a spectacular game with 28 points, Anthony Brown added 20 points and Diamon Simpson soared 16 points in the win. Diante Garrett scored 20 points and Tal Dunne added 14 points in the loss.

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!