Hapoel Holon got by Happy Casa Brindisi 87-85 in a tight Champions League Round of 16 Group Stage Playoff battle that took place in Italy. Stefanos Dedas’s squad were short handed as they played without Isaiah Miles due to COVID-19 and Rich Howell who couldn’t go right before the tipoff as the hosts took a 50-46 lead after twenty minutes. However, Chris Johnson and CJ Harris paced the purples, Niv Misgav came on with big minutes for the ejected Tyrus MGee after he was charged with a pair of unsportsmanlike fouls and veteran sharpshooter Guy Pnini nailed the game winning triple to ice the game and give Holon the hard earned victory.
Johnson and Harris each scored 17 points, McGee added 13 points and Misgav chipped in with 12 points in the win. Raphael Gaspardo paced the Italians with 15 points and Derek Willis added 12 points in the loss.
Niv Misgav spoke about the victory, “We worked hard during the Champions League break and have been ready for this game. I’m proud of my team with the big W.”
“It’s a great way to start the playoffs,” Dedas began following the win. “We played against a team with confidence and they have done great in their league and the first round, the level of difficulty was high. We had our plan and we attacked Darius Thompson and put him out of the game with our big guards, we had to press their shooters and guards. As a group we managed to handle the game and the win was important for the group and our psychology.”
James Bell who spoke to The Sports Rabbi this week ahead of the game reflected on the loss, “I feel like we beat ourselves and we made mistakes, but I don’t want to take anything away from them. They had a great game plan and credit to them. Heads up and we move on.”
In Israeli league action, Hapoel Eilat downed Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 95-90 to spoil Jeremy Pargo’s debut with the wine city squad. In a back and forth game, with terrific scoring and high flying dunks, Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad were able to take the victory thanks to 26 points and 10 rebounds from Casey Prather, Josh Nebo’s 21 points and 17 boards to go along with Joe Ragland’s 18 points and 10 assists. Pargo scored 27 points in his first game back in Israel since last July when he played with Jerusalem and Golan Gutt added 25 points in the defeat.
Winning coach Beit Halachmi was very content with the victory, “I’m really happy about how we packed they game after beating Maccabi at home with a short roster and with all of the procedures to get here from Eilat. Hats off to the players and the staff. Our goal is to be in the top 6 and we have to keep looking ahead. We have a good squad with a lot of character.”
Guy Goodes looked back at the loss, “We had foul trouble in the seldom quarter and we had problems when we had to keep Wilson and Mitchell out of the game. Eilat scored some easy baskets and they came back into the game. This has been something we have been dealing with all season long.”
“We have to work on our defense and continue to improve,” Pargo said. “I came here because of Guy Goodes, that’s my guy. The potential here is very high and it will take a few days to out things in order.”
Hapoel Beer Sheva overwhelmed Hapoel Gilboa Galil 83-60 down south to move their record to .500 on the season. Rami Hadar’s team came out of the gate on fire to take a 30-16 lead after the first quarter and never looked back. Eric Griffin led the way with 22 points, Caleb Agada added 14 points and Spencer Weisz chipped in with ten points in the win. Joe Thomasson and Kerry Blackshear each scored 11 points in the loss.