By Amy Samin
Maccabi opened with Raviv Limonad, Andrew Wisniewski, Yaniv Green, Chuck Eidson and D’or Fischer.
Tony Washam, Shmuel Brener, Lior Hakmon, Danilo Pinnock and Marco Killingsworth opened for Barak Netanya.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the early minutes of the game, but it was Netanya that pulled together first, going on an 8 – 0 scoring run to take a 13 – 6 lead after four minutes.
Eidson and Wiz responded to keep the game close, but the hosts broke things open again as the quarter wound down, 24 – 17 to Netanya with under two minutes left in the period.
Doron Perkins, Guy Pnini and Eidson fought hard to get Maccabi back in the game, and ended the quarter leading by one thanks to a layup plus free throw from Perkins, 27 – 26 Maccabi.
The game stayed close in the second quarter, with the lead constantly changing hands.
Points by Stephane Lasme under the basket off an assist from Perkins, plus a free throw, gave Maccabi the lead 33 – minutes.
Three pointers from Pnini and David Bluthenthal made it 42 – 39 with six minutes left in the half, but Netanya wasn’t ready to concede the game.
Pinnock and company kept the home team close, and the half ended with Netanya in the lead, 50 – 48.
Netanya grabbed a five point lead early in the third quarter, but a three from Perkins put Maccabi back within range, 55 – 53 with three minutes elapsed.
A layup plus foul from Eidson gave Maccabi back the lead, 56 – 55 but Netanya wasn’t finished.
The home team retook the lead and kept it for the rest of the quarter, helped in part by a technical foul called on Pnini, and the period ended with the score 73 – 64 Netanya.
The visitors kept their cool at the start of the fourth quarter, with contributions from Wisniewski and Bluthenthal which were capped off with a huge shot from outside the arc and a put back by Perkins, which brought Maccabi within two, 75 – 73, after three and a half minutes of play.
Netanya’s lead briefly swelled to five, but Wiz found Bluthenthal under the basket with one second remaining, and the clock ran out with the score tied at 86.
The teams continued to pace one another in overtime, with the score see-sawing and neither team taking a lead of more than three points.
With less than a minute left, it looked like Netanya had it wrapped, but a crucial three from Wisniewski tied it up again, 96 all, and the game went into its second overtime.
Netanya scored three quick points at the start of the second overtime and never looked back.
Wiz and Eidson did their best, but in the end Barak Netanya handed Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv their first Israeli league loss of the season, 114 – 103.
Maccabi: Wisniewski 26 points; Perkins 18 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists; Eidson 18 points, 6 rebounds; Bluthenthal 15 points, 5 assists; Lasme 9 points; Green 8 points, 6 rebounds; Pnini 7 points; Fischer 2 points.
Netanya: Washam 34 points; Pinnock and Killingsworth 26 points each; Asante 12 points; Younger 6 points; Brener 5 points; Hakmon 3 points; Rothbart 2 points.
“A team that can lead Galil here by 20 points is no gimmick,” said Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon.
“We knew what to expect; this is a tough court to play on, but we still shouldn’t have gotten into a situation where the game rolled the way it did.
From the minute you step onto this court, the opponent has the advantage.
You have to respect this opponent; they beat us and are one of the top teams.”
“Tonight we did a lot of things that weren’t especially smart, but there’s no need to make excuses.
I give them (Netanya) a lot of credit,” concluded the losing coach.
“We weren’t able to stop a lot of things that our defense should have been able to stop.
There’re two possibilities: either we didn’t guard well, or they played great defense.
It happens to every team.”