Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 82-77 as they wrapped up their Derby quarterfinal series 3-1 and will now ready to face Bnei Herzliya in a best of 3 semifinals series. Scottie Wilbekin and Derrick Williams put on a show for Maccabi over the course of the second half combining for 31 of their 53 points to take the victory.
The yellow-and-blue started off slow as Idan Zalmanson helped the reds snatch a double digit first quarter lead and held onto the advantage at halftime 43-35, but Wilbekin and Williams caught fire from deep in the third quarter to take a 55-53 lead after thirty minutes. J’Covan Brown and JP Tokoto began to cut into the Maccabi lead but the Wilbekin and Williams duo led the way over the final few minutes to close out the series and send Avi Even’s squad into the next round.
Wilbekin led the way with 28 points, Williams added 25 points and 9 rebounds and Roman Sorkin scored 10 points and pulled down 12 boards for Maccabi in the win. Brown paced the reds with 21 points, Zalmanson scored 17 points and Tokoto chipped in with 15 points in the loss.
“I’m happy that we were able to win here at the Drive In for the second time and that we advanced to the semifinals,” Maccabi coach Avi Even began. I’m disappointed that we lost at home last game but we won and we moved on. I’m happy that the guys left it all on the court like we all expected as a team and as in every game that we play.”
“It’s the end of a season that had many ups and downs along the way,” Hapoel coach Danny Franco said. “I’m very happy here and I really like the players. It’s important that I can help take Hapoel to the heights of Israeli basketball. We may have played shorthanded and we didn’t know what would be, but we wanted to defeat Maccabi Tel Aviv. Now we have to think about how we can improve and deal with the many injuries we had and improve upon our 7th place season. We were missing something and that was the story today.”
Derrick Williams who helped Maccabi to the win spoke about the game from his point of view while also looking ahead to the upcoming semifinals series, “I just wanted to get the win and that was the main thing. As for Bnei Herzliya, it’s not who we play, it depends on us to be ready. They are good players but we have a lot of good players on our team and when we are locked in, we can beat anyone.”
Reds captain Bar Timor also reflected on the game that was, “If we finished 7th in the standings then that is where we deserved to finish. There were some wins and losses along the way and we may have been able to play a bit better but overall there is a feeling that we missed out.”
Idan Zalmanson opened the scoring with a fadeaway to put Hapoel Tel Aviv on the scoresheet while J’Covan Brown added a basket as well, while Roman Sorkin scored a pair of baskets in the paint for Maccabi Tel Aviv as did Derrick Williams to give the yellow-and-blue a 6-4 lead midway through the first quarter. JP Tokoto scored a 3-point play, Zalmanson dialled up long distance, Josh Owens put down a pair of alley-oops, Zalmanson found points yet again and Bar Timor continued the attack as the Reds grabbed a 22-11 lead after ten minutes of action.
Scottie Wilbekin hit a 3-pointer to begin the second quarter, Raz Adam went to basket for a a layup at the other end, J’Covan Brown swished a triple as did Williams while Timor did the same to keep Danny Franco’s team in front 32-19 with 6:32 left in the first half.
Owens scored easily over James Nunnally, Brown nailed another one from deep, Williams responded at the other end with a 3-pointer and a dunk, Gil Beni went from downtown as did Wilbekin and Brown hit a jumper to send the Reds into halftime holding a 43-35 advantage.
Wilbekin scored the first points of the the third quarter and added a 3-pointer, Zalmanson answered, Wilbekin scored again and Evans fed Williams for an alley-oop to cut the Reds lead to 47-44 midway through the frame. Williams hit another jumper, Wilbekin drained a triple, Tokoto scored in the paint for Hapoel, Brown stepped back for a 3-pointer but Maccabi snatched the lead away 55-53 after thirty minutes of play.
Nunnally and Williams hit 3-pointers to get the fourth quarter underway, Nunnally drilled home another triple as did Dibartolomeo to bump the yellow-and-blue advantage up to 59-67 with 6:52 remaining in regulation time. Williams scored another one from long distance, Brown responded and then added a 3-point play, Williams scored from deep and Adam answered as Maccabi stayed in front 73-69 with 2:44 left in the frame. Tokoto hit a jumper, Wilbekin hit a long 3-pointer, Adam did the same, Brown went from deep but Blayzer hit a pair of free throws with 12.4 seconds left to seal the win and send Maccabi into the semifinals.