Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion dominated Hapoel Tel Aviv to take a 91-85 win which was never in doubt. Guy Goodes’s squad turned up the offense in the third quarter to open up a 69-53 lead after thirty minutes on the strength of Isaiah Taylor, Darryl Monroe and Akil Mitchell who each scored at least 20 points in the win.
Taylor with 24 points, Monroe with 20 points and 14 rebounds along with Mitchell who notched 20 points and 10 boards led the way for Rishon. Yam Madar was the Reds high scorer with 18 points while Jon Diebler put in 17 points going 5/9 from beyond the arc.
Hapoel Tel Aviv jumped out to an early lead on the strength of Yam Madar, Jonathan Mor and Daniel Koperberg but Akil Mitchell scored 11 first quarter points for Rishon Le’Zion as the Reds led 22-18 after ten minutes. John Diebler started to hit his shots and Mor added points for the Reds, but Noam Dovrat and Darryl Monroe worked the outside and inside for Rishon as they held a 44-41 advantage at halftime.
Dovrat and Mitchell took over to start the third quarter while Isaiah Taylor scored at will to bump up the lead to 67-52 after thirty minutes. Madar and Diebler with a triple a piece tried to dent Rishon’s lead to start the fourth quarter but Taylor, Mitchell and Monroe were too strong as the two big men notched double-doubles to seal the win.
“It was a good team performance,” Akil Mitchell told The Sports Rabbi following the game. “It was good to see guys playing well when we needed to get a win. We’re still learning to play with each other and figuring out how to win, but this was a good start. I’m proud of my guys but also understand there are a lot of things we can improve.”
Guy Goodes was happy to chalk up a victory on the road, “This was a very important away win for us. There are a lot of things we need to get better in, especially our defense, but it’s a process.”
Over at Ioannis Kastritis was on one hand disappointed to lose, but also knows that his players are fighting especially Jon Diebler who had a strong shooting game and looked like he was getting back into shape after being a bit banged up.
“Jon is one of the examples of what I tell you that our guys really want to stay together, really want go the extra mile, really want to keep fighting and they are doing that. We need to work as a team finally, when this happens believe me all pieces will be there, I am very sure about that.”
Diebler also spoke about the game that was, “For me personally it was good to be out there, I was dealing with injuries. I think we did some things well tonight that we didn’t do last game in Beersheva. It’s a long season, right now it’s tough because we are not winning, but we just gotta stay the course and keep coming every day in practice and keep improving. There is always the next game, we’ve lost a couple in a row and we feel confident we can win some in a row.”