By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv suffered their first loss of the season, 81-64 against Rishon Lezion in week 3 of the Winner-Sal League. Shawn James was the only bright spot for Maccabi, with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 blocks. Ohayon added 12 points.
Coach Blatt gave the nod to Shawn James, Ricky Hickman, team captain Guy Pnini, Malcolm Thomas and Yogev Ohayon. James opened the scoring with a putback, but Rishon Lezion responded quickly, and kept up an intense defense that resulted in a score of 11-7 to the visitors halfway through the period. Following a timeout called by Coach Blatt, a drive to the basket by David Logan and a trey by Nik Caner-Medley in the right corner made it 15-12 with just under three minutes remaining in the period. But not many more shots fell for Maccabi, and at the end of one quarter the visitors were leading 24-14.
The second quarter did not look any better for Maccabi, as Rishon continued to control the ball at both ends of the court, jumping to a 33-16 lead after two and a half minutes of play. James added points from the foul line plus a spin and in under the basket, and Hickman added a drive in the lane, but with two minutes left in the period Rishon led 41-23. Maccabi continued to struggle and the half ended with the visitors leading 43-25.
James continued to look good for Maccabi at the start of the third quarter, on both offense and defense. Hickman and Ohayon both scored in the paint, while Hickman and Logan both added points from downtown. But Rishon had a response for nearly every Maccabi bucket, and the period ended with the visitors still holding a double digit lead, 60-47.
Lior Eliyahu and James scored for Maccabi to make it 67-53 three minutes into the fourth quarter, but at the halfway mark Rishon had reopened their lead, 74-53. Maccabi couldn't seem to find an answer, and the game ended in a victory for Rishon Lezion over Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, 81-64.
After the game, Coach Blatt said, "Congratulations to Rishon. We simply didn't come ready to play basketball tonight. Tonight we just didn't have it, and we couldn't find a way to get out of the situation we were in. We had a bad day. We turned the ball over a lot and we didn't score. Rishon played an excellentgame, and this was the result."
Maccabi: James 19 points, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks; Ohayon 12 points; Logan, Hickman and Caner-Medley 7 points each; Landesberg, Shermadini, and Eliyahu 4 points each.