Maccabi Tel Aviv gets by Ramat Gan, Beer Sheva and Eilat battle against relegation

May 24, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi had an 84-81 road win against Ramat Gan on Friday in Maccabi’s penultimate game of the regular season and Ramat Gan’s last game of the regular season.

The game was a dead rubber, with Maccabi already securing first place and Ramat Gan securing third place going into the playoffs. This particularly gave the Yellow & Blue the luxury of resting star foreigners Lorenzo Brown and Josh Nebo, who sat on the sidelines with the injured John DiBartolomeo. Their absences gave other players the opportunity for more minutes, but it was a slow start to the game with Ramat Gan’s Mangok Mathiang scoring the only points in the opening minutes of the game with a layup and a free throw to give the home team a 3-0 lead after two and a half minutes of play before Maccabi finally got on the board courtesy of a 3-pointer from Joe Thommason. The teams traded baskets in a low-scoring first period, partly as a result of stronger defense and partly because of bad shooting (Maccabi shooting at 33.33% from 2-point range, with a 3-pointer to Numi Omot towards the end of the period giving the hosts an 18-15 lead after 10 minutes of play.

Nuni Omot – Photo Credit:

Omot started the second quarter where he left off the first with a nice drive to the basket and dunk. While Ramat Gan threatened to stretch out their lead, some strong plays from Jasiel Rivero under the basket, a 3-pointer to Tamir Blatt and a dunk to Roman Sorkin on consecutive plays forced Shmuel Brenner to call a timeout halfway through the period with the teams locked at 27-27. While the teams initially continued trading baskets, Maccabi went on a 10-2 inside the last three minutes of the quarter to take a 41-33 lead into the main break.

Maccabi extended the lead to double-digits at the inside the first minute of the second half with Bonzie Colson hitting his shot from long range. Ramat Gan wouldn’t let Maccabi really dig in their heals and dominate, with JP Tokoto and Itay Moshkovich finding the basket and teammates to ensure that there wouldn’t be a third-quarter blow-out. Then a 3-point play from Yahel Melamed, a dunk to Mathiang and two free throws to captain Adam Ariel reduced Maccabi’s lead to just 3 points with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter. But young star Omer Mayer hit a 3-pointer towards the end of the period to give Maccabi a 62-56 lead going into the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit:

James Webb III started the quarter in the same way that Mayer ended the third, but Ramat Gan refused to roll over and started to look like they wanted the win a little more, with Ariel scoring a 3-pointer and then a couple of minutes later rebounding his own 3-point attempt, followed by a 3-pointer to Omar made it a one-possession game with Maccabi holding a slender 77-75 lead with under two minutes to play. But Maccabi maintained the lead to win by 3 points.

Rivero (16 points, 3 rebounds and 1 assist), Sorkin (14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals) and Mayer (12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block) were in double-figures for the Yellow & Blue, while Omot (18 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals), Ariel (13 points, 1 rebound and 3 assists) and Mathiang 12 points, 13 rebounds and 2 assists) led the scoring for the home team.

“I’m overall satisfied,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash said after the game. “It wasn’t our best game. We weren’t focused at the start of the game, but for periods in the second and third quarter we played well and that won the game.”

Nuni Omot – Photo Credit:

“It wasn’t a good game for us,” Brenner summed up the game. “Even though Maccabi was with different players to their usual lineup, they still have great talent – but I still expect more from my team.”

Ultimately, both coaches were happy that their players got through without injury, with the playoffs beginning next week. Katash was also happy to be able to give more minutes to his youngest star.

“I’m happy that we stayed healthy and increased the minutes for Omer Mayer, we think it’s important for him” Katash said of what he took from the game. “He’s a special kid. I wish we could give him more minutes during the game. But he is special in his ability and how he approaches each game.”

Tamir Blatt – Photo credit:

Maccabi will now prepare for their final game before the playoffs at home against Kiryat Ata on Sunday (18:30 IDT / 11:30 EDT) – another dead rubber – while Ramat Gan will start to prepare for the opening of its quarterfinal series at home against Kiryat Ata on Tuesday night (21:00 IDT / 14:00 EDT).

There were three games in the Winner League on Thursday night featuring teams from the lower part of the table, with the home team in each game picking up the W: Hapoel Beer Sheva defeated Hapoel Afula 90-87 in overtime, with JaKeenan Gant top scoring for the winners with 23 points and Marcellus Earlington leading the scoring 19 for the visitors; playoff-bound Hapoel Haifa defeated Hapoel Eilat 80-67, with Dakarai Tucker leading the winners with 22 points and Jeremy Senglin top scoring for the visitors with 21 points; and Bnei Herzliya beat Hapoel Galil Elion 77-67, with Ethan Burg leading the winners with 18 points and Juvonte Reddic top scoring for the visitors with 20 points.

The final game day will determine which team will be relegated as Hapoel Beer Sheva controls their own destiny to stay up in the top division while Hapoel Eilat will need some help. Beer Sheva will host Bnei Herzliya and Eilat will welcome Hapoel Afula down by the Red Sea as both games will tip-off on Sunday at 7pm.

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