Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion defeated Hapoel Beer Sheva 96-85 to record their first Balkan League win. Akil Mitchell’s strong first half was matched by teammate Isaiah Taylor’s superb second half to lead Rishon to the victory.
Mitchell ended the contest with 25 points and 8 rebounds, Taylor scored 25 points and added 6 assists while Darryl Monroe chipped in with 16 points and Golan Gutt finished with 14 points in the win. Caleb Agada led Beer Sheva with 27 points, Spencer Weisz scored 15 points and added 7 rebounds as James Banks chipped in with 14 points and 9 rebounds in the loss.
Eric Griffin, Caleb Agada and Jakes Banks got Hapoel Beer Sheva rolling but quick buckets by Rishon Le’Zion’s Isaiah Taylor, Akil Mitchell and Darryl Monroe gave the visitors a slight 15-14 lead midway through the first quarter. Mitchell kept scoring but triples by Spencer Weisz, Natan Jurkovic and Agada put the southern reds in front 28-22 after the minutes.
Monroe hit a sweat jumper to get the second quarter underway while Gal Tessler and Taylor also found the bottom of the basket for Guy Goodes’s squad as the hosts led 36-31 with 5:28 left in the first half. Mitchell put in more points in the paint while Agada countered for Rami Hadar’s team but a Noam Dovrat layup and free throw gave Rishon a 45-42 advantage at halftime.
The third quarter began with Golan Gutt and Darryl Monroe scoring from beyond the arc for Rishon but Beer Sheva center James Banks put in a pair of baskets in the paint but Mitchell kept scoring from incredible angles as Rishon stayed in front 57-51 midway through the frame. Taylor sliced through the Beer Sheva defense for a layup and then drilled home a 3-pointer from the left corner but Tom Maayan hit a triple from the elbow to keep the game competitive with Rishon ahead 69-60 as the game moved into the final frame.
Monroe and Gutt began the fourth quarter with points for Rishon but Benny Eisenhardt and Banks scored in the paint and Travis Warech hit from down town, however, the young Rishon center Ido Flaisher powered points inside to keep the visitors in the lead 80-70 with 5:34 remaining in regulation time. More points from Taylor and Monroe were cancelled out by Muhammad Abu Arisha’s fine play but it wasn’t enough for Beer Sheva as Rishon recorded the 96-85.
Hapoel Eilat slipped by Nes Ziona 93-90 in the Red Sea city. Ben Carter’s monster game of 24 points and 12 rebounds led Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad to the win while Casey Prather added 21 points, Josh Nebo scored 14 points as both Joe Ragland and Zuf Ben Moshe each dropped 11 points in the victory. Davion Berry led the way for Brad Greenberg’s team with 22 points while Kwan Cheatham added 18 points and Patrick Miller scored 11 points in the defeat.
Nahariya downed Maccabi Haifa 86-80 by the Carmel Mountain as Kalin Lucas starred in the win for Danny Franco’s squad. Lucas scored 21 points and added 6 assists, Joe Alexander added 16 points and 9 rebounds while Jaron Blossomgame chipped on with 16 points and 8 boards in the win. Chris Dowe led the Greens with 22 points, Aaron Valdez chipped in with 15 points and veteran guard Avi Ben Chimol added 14 points for Daniel Seoane’s team.
Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped Bnei Herzliya 87-78 to open their Balkan League campaign with a win. Walter Lemon Jr. starred for the reds with 15 points and 11 assists while Bar Timor added 16 points and Daniel Koperberg chipped in with 13 points for Ioannis Kastritis’s squad. Frank Gaines led Sharon Drucker’s team with 21 points as Coty Clarke scored 17 points and pulled down 9 boards in the defeat.