Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion defeated Hapoel Holon 100-91 in an entertaining game as both clubs opened up their Winner League campaigns. Holon got off to a hot start as Chris Johnson and Tyrus McGee led the way but Isaiah Taylor, newcomer Trey Lewis and the pair of Noam’s, Dovrat and Avivi were able to brush off the early struggles to take the 9-point win.
Taylor led all scorers with 27 points and 6 assists, Trey Lewis added 19 points while Noam Avivi scored 16 points which was his career high and Noam Dovrat added 14 points in the win. Tyrus McGee scored 24 points, Chris Johnson chipped in with 16 points while Willy Workman and Richard Howell scored 12 points in the loss.
Hapoel Holon came out strong with points by Chris Johnson and Tyrus McGee in the first quarter but Isaiah Taylor helped Maccabi Rishon come back into the game as the visitors took a 22-17 lead after ten minutes.
Johnson continued his hot shooting from deep while CJ Harris began to fill the basket for Holon but at the other end Darryl Monroe and Noam Dovrat did damage as well. McGee scored Holon but Noam Avivi scored from deep and Taylor continued to score as Rishon grabbed a 43-42 advantage at halftime.
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Trey Lewis scored his first points in Israel and Avivi followed him up but Johnson and McGee kept filling the bucket for Holon. Avivi drilled home a pair of triples and then all heck broke lose as Holon turned over the ball on the inbounds as they had thought a timeout on the floor has been called.
Holon’s Guy Pnini was then called for two technicals and ejected from the game as the referees decided they had enough of his jawing. Lewis and Avivi scored again as did Akil Mitchell to give Rishkn a commanding 74-64 lead after thirty minutes.
Taylor and Lewis kept scoring, Dovrat put in a pair of buckets as McGee tried to keep Holon within striking range. But a Lewis layup and triple quelled the storm as Rishon wrapped up a 100-91 victory.
1) You’ve got to love the new dynamic duo for Rishon Le’Zion in Isaiah Taylor and Trey Lewis. Both are hardworking, athletic and fun guards to watch and would want to have on your team. They can shoot from outside, they can drive inside while orchestrating the offense while also playing hard nosed defense. Taylor was superb scoring 27 points while going 9/12 from two and 10/17 form the field along with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Lewis who got going in half number two with a scoreless first two quarters ended the night with 19 points, 5 assists and 5 boards in a solid debut. Oh, and by the way, how many minutes did the pair log? How about 73 out of 80 minutes. “We feed off of each other’s energy,” Lewis explained as to his on his new in court relationship with Taylor. As for his debut the newcomer said, “I’m definitely happy because we got a win. They are a tough team and we prepared for them as we watched a lot of film on them. To get a win to start the season off I’m very happy. The guys have been great to me here and it’s like a family. Coach Goodes is a great guy.” Coach Guy Goodes was definitely content to have him on his side, “He gives us a good shot and did a lit of nice things for us It’s only one game and he’s been with us less than a week, but he gave us a ton of power off the bench.”
2) Another dynamic duo were the “Brothers Noam”, Noam Dovrat and Noam Avivi who absolutely lit up the scoreboard as Avivi notched has career high with 16 points gong 6/7 from the floor and was a, get this a whopping +29! As for Dovrat how about 14 points, 6 assists? Not bad at all for the 18-year old Dovrat and the 21-year old Avivi. It was great to see Avivi knocking his shots down from outside and inside while Dovrat is looking more and more like a budding superstar. Trey Lewis was certainly impressed, “It’s easy to play with our young players when Noam plays like he is 25.” Guy Goodes also spoke about Dovrat and expects even more from him, “He can even do more and we spoke about it this past week. Darryl started yelling at him to be more and more aggressive and that’s what we want to see. When Noam joined the army is took him out of balance a bit but I believe that we will get a lot out of him this season.” As for Avivi, Goodes was also very pleased with his performance, “He was great and gave some very good minutes, I’m really happy for him.”
3) Holon came out strong but didn’t have the horses to finish off the game after returning from a midweek European clash against AEK in Athens, Greece with yet another Champions League tilt on Tuesday. And you know what? That’s fine. Sure Coach Stefanos wants to win every game he plays but he also has to be a realist and he understood that sometimes you have to prioritize one game over another. Dedas has a wonderful record in Israeli league games since arriving last season and there’s no question that he’s one of the best managers in the country, knowing how to get the best out of his players. But as he said he had a few players knocked up a bit with Willy Workman getting some stitches along with Chris Johnson and CJ Harris not being 100%, so the priority had to be Cholet with only 5 game remaining in their continental campaign. With a very short regular season in Europe this year, every game is like gold and Dedas knows it, “We came into the game after just one day of preparation which we knew would be difficult. Rishon had an advantage because they were able to prepare for a week and we had been playing in Europe and ended up tiring. Our most important game is our next against Cholet because we only have five games left in the Champions League and the Israeli season is quite long.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv sunk Hapoel Eilat 86-74 as big man Ante Zizic showed his power in the paint to help lead the yellow-and-blue to victory. Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad pulled away in the second quarter to take a 14-point lead into halftime, but Ariel Beit Halachmi’s team closed the gap to just 4-points heading into the final frame. However, Scottie Wilbekin, Chris Jones and Zizic all found the basket over the last ten minutes to record the win.
Zizic scored 24 points and added 9 boards, Sandy Cohen dropped 17 points, Elijah Bryant chipped in with 16 points for Maccabi. Casey Prather led Eilat with 19 points, Josh Nebo added 14 points while Joe Ragland and Zuf Ben Moshe scored 13 points in the loss.
“Overall, we played really well for most of the minutes starting great defensively and that was our first goal coming into tonight”, said head coach Ioannis Sfairopoulos following the victory. “In the first half we disorganized them, in the second half they found the solutions, but from the end of the third period we played good defensively, and in general, we played really smart offensively.”
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The star of the game, Ante Zizic also reflected on the win, ”I’m proud of the guys and the way we started the Israeli league after missing some vital players. Today we played on and off. Some points we played great and in some, we need to play better but all round we won the game and that is the most important.”