Sorkin rises high in Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Classico win over Hapoel Jerusalem

Feb 16, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Jerusalem 90-85 as Roman Sorkin did as he pleased inside to take the Israeli Classico. The reds came out strong as Khadeen Carrington made his Israeli league debut while Levi Randolph scored at will, but the yellow-and-blue started to control the paint with baskets by Josh Nebo, Jasiel Rivero and Roman Sorkin to send the game into halftime all tied up at 45-45. However, Sorkin started to score every which way inside while Tamir Blatt hit his shots from deep to put Oded Katash’s team ahead for good.

Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

Prior to the game a special memorial ceremony was held for Hapoel Jerusalem fans that have been killed in the ongoing war against Hamas that began on October 7th.

Roman Sorkin – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

Sorkin led the way with 20 points, Nebo added 12 points while Blatt and Colson scored 11 points each in the win. Randolph paced Jerusalem with a career high 33 points as Johnson and Carrington both scored 16 points in the loss.

Oded Katash – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

“This was a good game for us,” Maccabi coach Oded Katash began. “Especially against a team that is very good at home. For the most part we were there with our energy and defense despite that they made some big baskets in the first half. We played great defensively for the first 15 minutes of the second half and Tamir and John played very well. We played to our advantage inside and that helped us take the win.”

Ilias Kantzouris – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

“I believe we were not inside the lines of our ID and our defensive game,” Jerusalem head coach Ilias Kantzouris said. “We gave them too many second chance points and we can’t expect to beat a team like Maccabi when the game goes to 90 points. The injury to Gaby hurt our rotation and our side, but I believe that we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and come back better.”

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

The game MVP Roman Sorkin disused the victory, “This was an important win, but the season is long. Last year we had a tough time against them and I think we did a good job in this game. We kind of lost our heads a bit at the end but now we can look ahead to the next challenge in front of us”

Bonzie Colson – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

Bonzie Colson spoke about beating both Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv, “It was a good week and it’s not finished yet as we have a home game on Sunday. We have to build to continue on, we have been locked in differently and we are not satisfied at all, we are hungry.”

Levi Randolph – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

Levi Randolph also looked back at the game, “It was a really good effort for the guys and the team down the stretch, we didn’t give up and we continued to fight. That’s a statememt to my teammates for not giving up. We had a tough time defensively and gave up a lot of second chance points and 50/50 balls that we usually come up with. Maccabi came to play today and we have things to work on.”

Bonzie Colson – Photo credit: Dov Halickman and Yehuda Halickman

Levi Randolph for Hapoel Jerusalem and Bonzie Colson for Maccabi Tel Aviv traded baskets to get the game off and running while Chris Johnson found points from the inside and outside to give the hosts a 10-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Jasiel Rivero and Gaby Chachashvili scored, Khadeen Carrington put in a deuce, Roman Sorkin responded with a 3-point play, but Randolph scored a jumper to give the reds a 22-20 lead.

Khadeen Carrington – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Carrington rang up long distance for a pair from deep to begin the second quarter, Sorkin and Zach Hankins scored inside, but an injury to Chachashvili sent him to the lockerroom and was out for the balance of the game. Colson added a 3-point play and Rafi Menco added a pair of points to give Oded Katash’s team a 34-31 lead with 5:44 left in the first half. Josh Nebo dunked, Menco drained a corner 3-ball, Randolph and Johnson went from deep, Sorkin went in for a massive dunk, Carrington went from downtown to send the game into halftime all knotted up at 45-45.

Tamir Blatt – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Speedy Smith got on the board to get the third quarter underway, Brown knocked down a corner 3-ball, Blatt went from beyond the arc for a pair of 3-pointers, Nebo and Brown put in floaters, Sorkin added a 3-point play and a deuce, Randolph and Blatt traded baskets, but another bucket by Nebo gave Maccabi a 73-57 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Roman Sorkin – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Randolph and Rivero scored to start off the fourth quarter, Sorkin dunked off a break, added a jam and then scored off the glass, John Dibartolomeo went from deep, Johnson answered as did Carrington, Hankins and Randolph to cut the lead down to single digits but Brown and free throws from Wade Baldwin closed out the game.

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