Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion moved onto the semifinals of the Balkan League Israel group stage by defeating Hapoel Jerusalem 79-73 and ruining new coach Dainius Adomaitis’s debut, while Hapoel Holon punched their ticket to the next round of the competition with a 77-66 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv. Rishon will play Hapoel Gilboa Galil on Wednesday night for the right to join Holon as the second Israeli team in the second group stage.
That part of the competition will be comprised of four out of six teams that will advance from the current round robin group featuring BC Akademik Plovdiv and BC Beroe from Bulgaria, KK Teodo and KK Ibar Rozaje of Montenegro, KK TFT and KK Kumanovo 2009 from Macedonia plus the two Israeli teams. The six clubs will then be split into two groups of three teams where four games will be played in total. The top four teams will then advance to a Final Four which is slated to be played in the spring.
Rishon Le’Zion used a mammoth fourth quarter, outscoring Jerusalem 29-11 as Guy Goodes’s squad couldn’t miss down the stretch while their defense stifled the Red’s potent offense to snatch the 79-73 comeback win.
Darryl Monroe scored 16 points going an efficient 7/9 from the field, Akil Mitchell added 14 points and 12 rebounds, Noam Dovrat chipped in with 13 points and Trey Lewis scored 11 points in the win. Adi Cohen Saban and Jamil Wilson led Jerusalem with 13 points a piece, as Suleiman Braimoh scored 12 points in the defeat.
Jerusalem raced out to a quick 12-5 lead thanks to wide open triples by Tamir Blatt and Jamil Wilson while Rishon countered with baskets from Golan Gutt and Noam Dovrat early on in the first quarter. Buckets by Darryl Monroe, Akil Mitchell and a 3-pointer from Gutt helped the visitors pull to within two points but long distance specials from Chris Kramer and Adi Cohen Saban and a 3-point play from Idan Zalmanson gave the Reds a 24-19 advantage after ten minutes.
Suleiman Briamoh began the second quarter with a jumper, Kramer scored a layup off a fast break but Monroe and Mitchell scored back to back baskets in the paint to keep the score within reach 28-23 in favor of Dainius Adomaitis’s squad. Kramer went from downtown, Briamoh nailed one from midrange and J’Covan Brown from deep for Jerusalem as Monroe, Ido Flaisher and Trey Lewis tried to keep Guy Goodes’s team in the game but a huge Tashawn Thomas dunk near the end of the first half to give the Reds a 44-32 lead.
Gutt drilled a triple but Braimoh, Thomas and Brown all got busy with points for Jerusalem to bump up the lead to 53-37 midway through the third quarter. Dovrat hit a jumper at the end of the shot clock, Flaisher scored in the paint but Cohen-Saban and Jamil Wilson scored 3-pointers or keep the 12-point advantage 62-50 after thirty minutes.
Dovrat, Mitchell and Nimrod Tishman cut the Jerusalem lead to 62-62 with 5:08 remaining in the fourth quarter as Rishon ran off a 12-0 run and held the hosts scoreless. But Thomas and Braimoh scored in the paint while Cohen-Saban went for a corner triple to put the Reds up 69-64. Lewis wouldn’t give up as he scored from downtown, Mitchell found points inside as did Monroe and Dovrat to shock Jerusalem with the 6-point win and a trip to the semifinals against Hapoel Gilboa Galil.
Hapoel Holon downed a game Hapoel Tel Aviv 77-66 to advance to the next group stage of the Balkan League. Stefanos Dedas’s squad used a strong defensive effort in the second half as they outscored the Reds 47-31 over the final twenty minutes to take the victory.
In a well balanced scoring affair, Chris Johnson led the way with 13 points, Isaiah Miles scored 12 points, while Maxim De Zeeuw and Tyrus McGee added 10 points a piece in the win. Hapoel newcomer Tyrique Jones continued to impress with 25 points and 10 rebounds, Yam Madar scored 15 points whole Bar Timor chipped in with 12 points in the defeat.