Hapoel Jerusalem cruised to the 83-60 win over Hapoel Eilat in a game that was never in doubt from the get go. Zach Hankins was a power all game long inside for the Reds as he scored at will time and time again in a game that also saw youngster Noam Yaacov make his Israeli league debut as he dished out a team high 7 assists in the victory.
Zach Hankins was a power in the paint and Khadeen Carrington added points as well thanks to fine point guard play by Speedy Smith and 18-year old Noam Yaacov to give Hapoel Jerusalem a 45-33 lead at halftime. Hankins continued to dominate play inside while Mareks Mejeris and Or Cornelius also filled the basket as did Carrington in the easy win.
Hankins led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds, Carrington added 14 points and Mejeris scored 11 points in the win. Emanuel Lecomte paced Eilat with 17 points and Jared Terrell added 14 points in the loss.
The game MVP Zach Hankins spoke about the win, “We knew it as a tough place to play and they are a talented team, We knew we had to come out stronger than we had been and my guys were finding me in rotation really easily and they were able to pick a part their defensive scheme.”
Assistant coach Shay Olarcyk added, “We opened the game up well compared to other games and we were able to take the lead and keep the gap. We had a lot of positive momentum which we had spoken about and the players were focused for all 40 minutes.”
Hapoel Holon downed Hapoel Gilboa Galil 96-89 for their 11th straight loss as five players for the purples scored in double figures to take the win. Guy Goodes’s squad who went 15/26 from deep, were able to build up a double digit lead by halftime but Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team was able to come back and cut the lead down to just 3-points late in the game, but Joe Ragland was able to help his team to the victory.
Chris Johnson, Hayden Dalton and Joe Ragland all got busy for Holon while Amit Suss and Payton Willis countered for Gilboa Galil but the purples grabbed a 53-38 advantage at halftime. Tony Carr and Willis began chipping away at lead but Johnson, Dalton and Niv Misgav came up with key baskets to take the tough home win.
“You can never think that a game will be easy in this league,” Goodes said. “We had a good second quarter and a poor third and we have a lot to improve. We did our best and now we have to look at the next game. We weren’t as focussed perhaps and maybe we were a bit tired after halftime, but at the end of the day we were able to take the win.”
“The first half was not good but we turned it around in the second half,” Beit Halachmi began. “We are able to get the lead down to 4 points but I can’t take any satisfaction in that as we still lost. We had a lot of desire in the second half and we were much more focussed but on defense we were unable to make the stops that we needed to.”
The game MVP Chris Johnson looked back at the win, “Getting over emotions from last game with two overtimes was key. We played this game and focussed on it. The mental part of basketball is taking care of your bodies. Down the stretch they made some big 3’s but at the end of the day we took the win. I’m 10/10 exhausted, I’ll get some rest and get ready for the next game.”