In hotly contested WINNER CUP Tel Aviv Derby Final, Maccabi defeated Hapoel 88-84 in overtime to capture the season’s first piece of hardware. Alex Poythress was a force in the paint for the yellow-and-blue as he scored at will on the inside along with some high flying dunks as Lorenzo Brown found key points in the extra session to hand Oded Katash’s squad the title.
With flares and pyrotechnics at the Hadera Arena, Maccabi were in full control of the game from the outset as the big men, Alex Poythress, Roman Sorkin and Josh Nebo dominated the interior on both ends of the court to take a 47-36 lead into halftime. However, Xavier Munford and Jordan McRae chipped away at the lead to tie up the game 73-73 at the end of regulation time.
In the extra session, Lorenzo Brown scored on the inside and the outside while Poythress continued to find points in the paint to finally dispose of the Reds 88-84.
Poythress scored 24 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, Brown added 20 points and 9 assists while Roman Sorkin scored 12 points in the win. Munford paced Hapoel with 23 points and McRae chipped in with 17 points in the loss.
“We know Alex and that is why he is here,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said about the the game’s MVP. “This was our first decision of the summer (to sign him). We are very happy that he is here with us and we know what his abilities. For most of this game he didn’t play his usual position and he had to get used to it.
The most valuable player Alex Poythress shared his thoughts on the win, “The atmosphere was crazy and I’m glad to be a part of this. Hopefully when we play them a couple of more times we come out as winners. It was a great experience.”
“We came into the game believing that we could win the game, perhaps more than we should have,” Hapoel coach Danny Franco said. “We didn’t have a good first half and went down 11 points, but in the second half we were able to focus on some of the details and were able to turn the game around with a chance to win it.”
Reds captain Bar Timor talked about what he told his team following the game, “I told the guys that it’s too bad that we lost but we can take some lessons from this game, how to start off better, focus more and work on the small things. We need to learn from this game and move on.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv got off to a fast start with dunks from big man Josh Nebo, Wade Baldwin and Lorenzo Brown to grab a quick 11-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Jaylen Hoard scored on the inside and Bar Timor went deep from the outside to get Hapoel Tel Aviv back into the game, Roman Sorkin scored his first bucket of the game and then played facilitator for an Alex Poythress dunk but Xavier Munford put in a pair of baskets to cut the lead to 24-16 after ten minutes of play.
Idan Zalmanson opened the second quarter with points inside while Munford drilled a corner 3-ball for Hapoel, while Colson and Baldwin answered with triples of their own to increase the yellow-and-blue lead to double digits, 34-23 with 5:52 remaining in the first half. Sorkin put in a rebound, Adam Ariel and Munford scored, Poythress put on an air show off a Brown alley-oop and the added another bucket in the paint and the aforementioned Brown went from beyond the arc to give Oded Katash’s team a 47-36 lead at halftime.
Brown drilled in a corner 3-pointer to get the third quarter off and running, Jordan McRae hit Chris Horton for an alley-oop while Brown and Poythress teamed up to do the same as Maccabi stayed in front 54-44 midway through the period. Ginat polished off a break with a dunk, Poythress scored in the paint, Brown and Munford traded baskets, as did Ginat and Dibartolomeo while McRae also found points but were still down 62-53 after thirty minutes of end to end action.
Colson and McRae traded triples to begin the fourth quarter, but Zalmanson scored and Timor went from downtown to cut the Maccabi lead to just 65-62 with 6:34 left in regulation time. Munford scored a layup, Brown drilled a triple, Poythress put in another alley-oop and then a monster reverse dunk, McRae scored off a fast break, Munford put in a 3-point play and Timor went one from two from the free throw line to send the game into overtime all knotted up at 73-73.
Brown dialled up long distance as the extra period got underway, McRae put in points, Poythress scored a pair of baskets in the paint and Horton put back a rebound to stay close but down 80-79 with 2:28 left in overtime. Brown went from downtown and scored a floater in the paint, Munford went from deep but Colson iced the game with a pair of free throws to give Maccabi the first title of the season.
In Israel basketball league action, Bnei Herzliya surprised Hapoel Holon 79-74 in a replay of last year’s championship series. Despite playing without guard Quinton Hooker, seldom used point guard Oded Brandwein rose to the occasion to score a pair of 3-pointers late in the game to seal the road victory that saw veteran big men Maurice Kemp and Julian Gamble take advantage of the interior to take the win. Kemp recorded a 19 point and 10 rebound double-double, Julian Gamble added 18 points, while Sandy Cohen and Chris Babb each chipped in for 14 points in the victory. Joe Ragland paced the hosts with 21 points, Erick Green added 20 points and Marvin Jones scored 15 points in the loss.
Hapoel Eilat came out on top of Hapoel Galil Elyon 88-76 down south by the Red Sea city. Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team came out strong to grab a 46-39 lead at halftime and never looked back to record the win. Jared Terrell Eric Griffin led the way for Eilat with 24 points and 10 boards, Jared Terrell added 22 points and Amit Gershon scored 10 points in the victory. Jalen Hudson paced Barak Peleg’s team with 21 points and Bryce Washington scored 19 points in the defeat.