Rishon Le’Zion relegated, Eilat back in playoff picture, Herzliya tops Galil Elyon in barnburner

Apr 25, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion fell at Hapoel Eilat 91-80 to officially finish in last place and will be relegated next season to the Leumit league. After a tight first quarter, the Red Sea City squad began to pull away as five players finished in double digits to notch the victory and send Rishon down a division. Joaquin Szuchman paced Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team with 18 points, Bryon Allen added 15 points and Toney Douglas added 14 points in the win, Archie Goodwin led Rishon with 18 points while Anthony Brown scored 17 points in the defeat.

“For five seasons we have battled for titles and cups and this is not just a regular club,” Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion coach Dror Cohen said. “This is club that had a rich tradition. Hopefully we will be able to be promoted as quick as possible.”

Bnei Herzliya came out on top with an 81-77 win over a game Hapoel Galil Elyon in a playoff style battle that saw end to end action for the full 40 minutes. The hosts held the upper hand for the most part with fine play by big man Chinanu Onuaku, Maurice Kemp and Yair Kravitz while Gaby Chachashvili and Bryce Washington were able to match them basket for basket. However, with the score 78-77 in favor of Herzliya, Chris Babb who just signed a 2-year extension with Oren Aharon’s club drilled a triple with 13 seconds left to out the finishing touches on the victory.

Onuaku led the way with 19 points, Babb added 15 points while Kravitz and Kemp each had 12 points in the win. Chachashvili paced Galil with 16 points and 9 rebounds, Washington added 13 points and Ike Iroegbu chipped in with 12 points in the loss.

Oren Aharoni – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“This was a playoff game atmosphere with big plays on both sides,” Aharoni said. “We ended up on the right side of the result but this was truly like a playoff game. Babb is doing a great job, but we have to come into every game with what we have and give it our best. We were very focussed on defense and made good stops. As I say big players make big plays to win games.”

“It was a very tough battle and Herzliya has been like that the entire season,” Galil coach Barak Peleg explained. “They made some big plays at the end of the game and we were winning in the 4th quarter but we need to learn how to stay ahead and win the game.”

Chris Babb – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Game MVP Chris Babb also spoke about the game that was, “The main thing was when I had the ball before the shot was to work with the time off the clock and we made some big plays to win the game. That’s basketball and there are ups and downs, some days it goes in and some not, but the most important thing is to stay confident. Our fans do an outstanding job. They are with us, love us and give us big boost.”

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