Holon guts out tough 78-71 win over Herzliya, will look to wrap up finals with sweep

Jun 6, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Holon gutted out a 78-71 win over Bnei Herzliya on the road to snatch home court advantage and take a 1-0 series lead with a chance to close out the finals with a win at home on Thursday. Guy Goodes’s team was able to overcome third quarter foul trouble to come from behind with a dominant fourth quarter thanks to game MVP Tyrus McGee who bested the league’s player of the season Chinanu Onuaku’s double-double to notch the 7-point victory setting up a do or die situation for Oren Aharoni’s squad in game two of the best of three series.

Herzliya’s outside shooting was off all night as Chris Babb and Quinton Hooker combined to go a paltry 2/17 from deep despite having a major advantage on the boards out-rebounding Holon 43-35 which included 12 offensive rebounds while the visitors checked in with a 14/36 performance from downtown to goo along with 7 steals in the tough win.

Rafi Menco had the hot hand out of the gate for Holon with 13 points to give the visitors a 6-point lead after ten minutes, but Herzliya made sure to keep the game within striking distance thanks to Chinanu Onuaku’s double-double by halftime to head into the break down 39-33. Chris Babb and Maurice Kemp helped the hosts take a 58-54 advantage after three quarters as a trio of players for the visitors including Chris Johnson, Michale Kyser and Hayden Dalton headed into the final frame with four fouls a piece.

Joe Ragland – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

However, Tyrus McGee and Joe Ragland helped mount a comeback as the pair of guards supplied the offense for Holon over the fourth quarter while Dalton hit a couple of big 3-pointers down the stretch and Kyser scored a huge floater in the paint as time wound down to seal the game one win for Guy Goodes’s team.

McGee led all scorers with 23 points, Ragland added 18 points and 9 assists as Menco chipped in with 13 points all coming in the first quarter to take the win. Onuaku dropped 18 points and grabbed 20 rebounds while Babb and Van Vliet each scored 12 points in the loss.

Guy Goodes – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

“This was a very important win at a very tough place to play over a very good team,” Goodes said following the win. “We were able to do some good things but our big guys had some foul issues and Herzliya had a good momentum. However, we were able to come back as we hit some money time baskets. This game really reminded me of the game against Jerusalem where it went a possession here and a possession there. Now we have to be ready and focussed for game two at home in order for us to do what we need to do.”

“This was a very closely fought final game and we were a bit tight shooting which led to a very bad night from the outside,” Aharoni explained. “We made our comeback in the third quarter, but Dalton, Ragland and McGee made big baskets down the stretch. We now have to pull ourselves together and come back strong on Thursday.”

Michale Kyser – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Michale Kyser spoke about his basket as time wound down to help Holon to the win, “It’s just being prepared and being the player I need to be. When things aren’t going the way we want it to we have other players who can step up. We have another game coming up which will be a tough one. I’m not getting too excited just yet.”

Herzliya swingman Sandy Cohen reflected on the game from his point of view, “Our offense was a little inconsistent at times and in games against Holon for the title we needed to be more consistent. We weren’t able to do that.”

Rafi Menco – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Andy Van Vliet scored the first points of the final inside the paint while Michale Kyser answered with a midrange jumper at the other end to get things rolling early on. Quinton Hooker went from deep, Rafi Menco scored a layup off the baseline and then dialled up long distance for a pair of triples while he added another deuce to give Hapoel Holon a 12-8 lead midway through the first quarter.

Chinanu “Chief” Onuaku began to get busy inside for Herzlliya with a trio of buckets, Tyrus Mcgee responded at the other end with a 3-pointer and a dunk, Joe Ragland got his first points from beyond the arc as Menco matched him from the corner to keep Guy Goodes’s squad in front 26-20 after ten minutes of action.

Tyrus McGee – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

McGee went from deep to begin the second quarter, Chris Babb did as well for Oren Aharoni’s team, Chris Johnson went from downtown and Ragland went in for a layup to open up an 11-point lead, 35-24 with 6:10 left in the first half. Maurice Kemp cleaned up a rebound, Ragland scored off a fast break and then added a layup but Shawn Dawson responded at the other end to cut the Holon advantage to 39-33 at halftime.

The third quarter got underway as McGee went from downtown for the visitors and Onuaku scored inside for the hosts, Kemp took an Onuaku ball and found points in the paint but Ragland went from deep to keep Holon ahead 49-42 midway through the frame. McGee drilled deep triple while Babb did the same, but with Johnson and Keyser each with four fouls Holon went ice cold from the field as Hooker collected points on the free throw, Babb and Van Vliet each dropped 3-point plays to snatch a 58-54 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Hayden Dalton – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Van Vliet drained a corner 3-ball as did Guy Pnini to start off the fourth quarter, Dawson scored a floater in the lane, McGee scored from the line, went in for a layup and then drilled a triple to pull Holon back to just one point down 65-64 with 6:41 remaining in regulation time. Dawson went in for a layup, Dalton hit a 3-pointer, Onuaku put in a deuce as did Ragland, Johnson scored a layup, Dalton went from deep and Kyser scored a tear drop as the shot clock expired to take the gutsy game one win.

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