Maccabi Tel Aviv 103-59 Maccabi Ashdod
The Yellow & Blue blew out an undermanned Ashdod due to injuries to open up the season on the right foot. Ashdod put up a fight and were down by only 1 point, 25-24 after ten minutes, but Maccabi pulled away midway through the second frame and that was that. Ashdod Coach Brad Greenberg was forced to play 16 and 17 year old youth players in the 4th against Maccabi coach Neven Spahija’s pros and the final result showed the gap between the two sides. John DiBartolomeo scored 18 points, Yovel Zoosman added 14 points while Jake Cohen had 13 points and 8 rebounds. Landon Mibourne led the way for Ashdod with 24 points as Spencer Weisz had a career high with 19 points.
Following the game I asked Dibartolomeo if the game was a good warmup for Panathinaikos, “Every game is different especially between the 2 leagues. It was good for our confidence to get into rhythm. Every day that we are able to play together is a good for us.” Dibartolomeo was diplomatic as ever but the bottom line is as well as Maccabi played and were able to gain confidence especially a player like Zoosman it was less than ideal when the likes of Nick Calathes and co. are around the corner. Thursday will be interesting.
Bnei Herzliya 73-83 Hapoel Jerusalem
Jerusalem picked up the opening day win on the road at Herzliya. Jerusalem led throughout but Herzliya put up a valiant fight drilling down the Reds lead to a few points a number of times during the game, but key defensive stops and clutch baskets kept Oded Katash’s side ahead each time. Josh Owens scored 17 points and grabbed 9 boards, Tamir Blatt dropped 14 points and handed out 9 assists while James Feldeine added 14 points and Chris Johnson chipped in with 9 points of his own. Karam Mashour made his return to Herzliya after a disappointing season at Maccabi and scored 17 points for the host’s.
Johnson was one of the keys to the win as #4 dove for balls, played tough defense and left everything out on the floor. After the game Katash commented on his game, “It’s one of the reasons he is here. His intensity as well as Butler’s were great. They will find their offense with time. He is crucial to the team and his hustle is very important. We need to come to every game like we did today.”
Johnson also spoke about the game, “It was good. We kept the intensity. I try to bring my energy when I play. I try to do the stuff that’s not always on the stat sheets. I go out there and play hard every night.”
Katash also looked ahead to Wednesday’s Champions League at AEK Athens, “We can’t wait for things to come to us. We need to go out there and get them. A big challenge is coming up. We will prepare in the best possible way over the next 2 days to try to get the best result possible.” Johnson added, “We will watch the video and we will be good, ready and aggressive for the Champions l=League game.”
The bottom line is, that of Jerusalem can come out in Athens as they did in Herzliya, they should be taking home the win.
Nahariya 98-95 Hapoel Holon
Nahariya shocked Holon up north taking the season opening win by 3 points. Holon dug a huge hole down by 20 points in the 4th quarter but Dan Shamir’s side clawed back to make it a game, however Micky Gorka’s team took the win. Myke Henry had a fantastic night for Nahariya with 31 points, Terry Allen added 23 points and 9 boards while Yiftach Ziv chipped in with 12 points and 7 rebounds. DeQuan Jones paced Holon with 27 points as Khalif Wyatt added 22 in the loss.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 84-90 Nes Ziona
Rishon Le’Zion came back down to earth after winning the WINNER Cup Preaseason tournament last week as they fell to Nes Ziona at home. In a bak and forth game, it was Nadav Zilberstein’s side that took the hard earned win thanks to Gary Browne’s 23 points and 10 rebounds along quoth Mickell Gladness’s 18 points. DeShawn Stephens led the way for Rishon with 20 points while Cameron Long added 19 points in the defeat.
Hapoel Tel Aviv 100-81 Hapoel Eilat
The Tel Aviv Reds took care of business at home defeating Eilat in a game that as beer in doubt. Up 60-32 at halftime it was easy sailing the rest of the way for Danny Franco’s team that saw Douglass Moore drop 24 points on the night. Johnathan Holmes and Jamal Shuler each added 15 points in the win while Elijah Bryant led the way for the southern side with 21 points.
Hapoel Beer Sheva 83-76 Hapoel Gilboa Galil
The visitor’s took a 42-25 lead into halftime but couldn’t hold on as Beet Sheva stormed back thanks to Travis Warech and his 15 3rd quarter points, Taylor Braun’s 18 points and Semaj Christon’s 16 points. James Kelly dropped 29 points and pulled down 11 boards in the defeat.