By Amy Samin
Yaniv Green, Guy Pnini, Andrew Wisniewski, Alan Anderson and Stephane Lasme opened the game for Maccabi, while the visitors started with Omar Sneed, Jimmy Baxter, Moran Roth, Elad Hoffman and Brooks Sales.
After three and a half minutes they led by a score of 11 – 4.
Substitutions by Maccabi couldn’t stop
David Bluthenthal drained a catch and shoot on an inbounds, then went on to sink two free throws and score in the paint off an assist from Doron Perkins.
A three pointer by Raviv Limonad from the corner at the buzzer closed out the quarter, with Maccabi trailing 28 – 19.
A steal by Limonad led to a layup from Perkins in the opening seconds of the second quarter, and proved to be a taste of the future as Maccabi set about taking the lead.
A mini-hook in the paint plus free throw by Bluthenthal cut that lead to three.
The home team then got down to the business of extending their lead, and were ably supported in that endeavor by team captain Derrick Sharp, who sent home a three pointer from the right wing, making it 48 – 42 Maccabi, with less than two minutes remaining in the period.
Baxter tried to get things going again for
Maccabi was also excellent on defense, with steals, blocked shots, defensive rebounds and all-around good guarding keeping the visitors in check.
Pnini drained a three pointer from the top of the arc with three and a half remaining in the period to make it 64 – 54.
Perkins, Fish and Limonad added points from the line, then Perk added a spinning layup and one to make it 72 – 43, Maccabi with one and a half minutes left.
Sharp added another three pointer, which was answered by Brian Tolbert, and the period ended with Maccabi’s lead at 77 – 61.
A pair of layups from Limonad and
Shortly after, Pnini picked Sneed’s pocket and then made another three pointer, making it 89 – 66.
When Pnini sank one of two from the free throw line off an unsportsmanlike call against Sales, Maccabi’s lead reached twenty-six, 93 – 67 at the halfway mark in the period.
Maccabi didn’t let up even when the game reached the so-called “garbage time” phase; Perkins in particular seemed determined to see Maccabi pass 100 points.
But it wasn’t to be, and the game ended after two free throws by Lasme, giving Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv the 98 – 80 win over Irony Eldan Ashkelon.
Maccabi: Anderson 21 points; Perkins 20 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocked shots, 4 steals; Bluthenthal 15 points; Limonad 14 points; Pnini 12 points; Sharp 6 points; Fischer 4 points; Lasme 4 points, 7 rebounds; Green 2 points.
Ashkelon: Baxter 22 points; Sales 15 points; Sneed 12 points; Tolbert 9 points; Roth 8 points; Hoffman 7 points; Carr 5 points; White 2 points.
“Since the game ended okay, there’s no need to go into what went wrong at the beginning,” said Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon after the game.
“I hope that those things weren’t just our fault; there were things that shouldn’t have happened.
Everyone needs to take each game seriously: the coaches, the players and the referees, and there were a few things that weren’t okay.
In the first half they went to the free throw line 18 times, and there were things that I don’t want to get into here.
I think it’s harder to referee this kind of game than a close game, and that needs to be addressed accordingly.
Not all of that point difference is our fault.”
Doron Perkins, who had an outstanding game, said this about the first quarter, “You know, it happens.
Sometimes people come out a little flat.
I think we didn’t give them enough credit.
They’re a real good team,” Perkins continued, “and they can beat you, so we kicked it up and it was good.
We need to understand that every game now is preparation for the championship.”