Jerusalem, Maccabi & Hapoel win!

Hapoel Jerusalem needed a late run to put away Nes Ziona 90-82 at the Pais Arena in the nation’s capital. The Reds were cruising along until the visitor’s pulled even at 77-77 with 3:15 left in the 4th quarter. However, Da’Sean Butler, Bar Timor and James Feldeine helped Jerusalem to the victory. Chris Johnson led the host’s with 15 points, Butler scored 14 points and Tashawn Thomas dropped 14 points, pulled down 12 rebounds and recorded a 28 efficiency rating in the win while Daequan Cook was the Nes Ziona high scorer with 27 points.

Hapoel Holon travelled down south to Eilat and took home a 82-76 win. Trailing throughout most of the game, Dan Shamir’s squad moved into high gear in the 4th quarter, outscoring the host’s 27-14 to snatch the win. Corey Walden had an MVP night with 32 points, 7 assists and a 46 efficiency rating as his offensive display of late has been able to make up for the loss of Khalif Wyatt. Although Eilat had five players in double digits led by Suleiman Braimoh’s 16 points, Elijah Bryant’s off night and a 3/16 outing from beyond the arc allowed the visitor’s the chance to pull off the comeback victory. With Eilat ahead 62-55 heading into the final frame, TJ Cline hit a pair of 3-pointers and Darion Atkins scored a number of big buckets as they helped Walden and Holon record an important away win to remain in first place. Cline ended the evening with 11 points for Holon while Rafi Menco and Lenzelle Smith Jr each scored 15 points for Eilat.

Maccabi Tel Aviv easily took apart Hapoel Beer Sheva 99-76 in Israel’s southern capital. Every player on the Yellow & Blue roster scored including Jeremy Pargo who made his return after being on the shelf since October with an injury. With the score 9-7 for Maccabi midway through the first frame, Coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad went on a 13-0 run led by Captain John Dibartolomeo to take a 25-14 lead after ten minutes and never looked back. Israelis Dibartlomeo, Yovel Zoosman and Nimrod Levi all scored in double digits as the team dished out 33 assists. Taylor Braun scored 19 points while Travis Warech added 11 points in the loss.

Hapoel Tel Aviv picked up an important 96-91 victory on the road against struggling Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. Rich Howell led the way for the Tel Aviv Reds with 19 points including a number of crucial 4th quarter baskets to give embattled coach Dani Franco the win. Gilboa/Galil’s Greg Whittington and Tel Aviv’s Tomer Ginat set the tone early as the first quarter ended all knotted up at 26. A pair of triples by Stu Douglass helped the visitor’s to a 53-44 lead after twenty minutes but an 11-0 run by the host’s gave them a 60-59 lead in the 3rd frame. However, Howell answered back for Franco’s squad as they took a 9-point 80-71 advantage into the 4th quarter and finished the game off over the final frame to send Gilboa/Galil and coach Ariel Beit Halachmi to their 6th loss in a row. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell scored 16 points including 4 three pointers, Jerel McNeal added 14 points and Tomer Ginat clocked in with 11 points and 10 rebounds for Tel Aviv while Whittington scored 24 points for the host’s.

Maccabi Ashdod recorded their first home win of the season, defeating Bnei Herzliya 94-73 thanks to spectacular performances by Landon Milbourne and Paul Stoll. The port city squad led throughout most of the game and a 16-0 run in the 4th quarter put away the victory. Despite playing with four fouls in the 3rd quarter, Stoll broke the contest open with a 10-0 run to take a 57-48 lead as Brad Greenberg’s side never looked back. Milbourne scored 26 points, Stoll added 24 points, 10 assists and 5 steals, Mark Tollefsen chipped in with 20 points and Spencer Weisz dropped 10 points in his return to the court after being out with a hand injury for close to two months. Gabe Levin led Herzliya with 15 points.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion visited Nahariya and took home a 89-75 win in Ein Sara for their sixth straight victory. After a close first half, Guy Goodes’s side went on an 18-3 run to pull way from Arik Alfasi’s squad which featured former NBA standout Jordan Crawford making his Israeli league debut. Alex Hamilton scored 18 points and recorded 7 assists, Itay Segev tied his career high with 15 points and DeShawn Stephens had 15 points along with 10 rebounds for Rishon. Dagan Yivzori scored 17 points and Crawford dropped 13 points, handed out 5 assists and pulled down 4 boards in 30 minutes of play for Nahariya.

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