By Amy Samin
In the first Tel Aviv derby in six years, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv demolished cross-town rival Hapoel Tel Aviv 91-72. Lior Eliyahu was outstanding with 20 points, Ricky Hickman added 15 points, and Yogev Ohayon (7 assists) and Devin Smith contributed 12 points each.
Starters for Maccabi were Malcolm Thomas, Yogev Ohayon, Ricky Hickman, Lior Eliyahu, and Devin Smith. The game opened with lots of energy on both sides, and with Maccabi playing with lots of intensity on defense. After three minutes Maccabi began opening up a lead off points by Thomas, Eliyahu (assist Smith), and Smith with a trey from the left corner, making it 9-2. Maccabi continued to play great defense and to expand their lead, which reached 13-4 before Hapoel knew what had hit them. The team from across town pulled themselves together, though, going on a 7-0 scoring run that put them within two, 13-11. Over the next few minutes the lead changed hands several times, until a reverse layup by David Logan, a block by Shawn James and fastbreak points for Logan (assist Eliyahu) gave the lead back to Maccabi, and the quarter ended with the score 21-19.
The second quarter opened with points from James off a dish by Eliyahu, who went on to score points of his own soon after. Hickman dished to Thomas for the slam, and Maccabi's lead grew to 27-22. The visitors got back into the game, briefly retaking the lead after four minutes of action. Nik Caner-Medley gave the lead back to the home team halfway through the period, 36-33. Eliyahu intercepted a Hail Mary pass by Hapoel and dished to Ohayon for the layup before scoring points of his own. Sylven Landesberg also grabbed a steal and capitalized, while Hickman, Thomas and Ohayon added points to end the period with Maccabi leading 50-41.
Maccabi came out after the break with fire in their eyes, jumping to 59-43 after three and a half minutes off points by Eliyahu, James, Ohayon, Hickman and Smith. If anything, the defensive effort was even more intense. Points by Eliyahu and James brought Maccabi's lead to fifteen, 65-50. Free throws filled in much of the second half of the period, which ended with Maccabi up 69-56.
The fourth quarter picked up where the third left off, with Maccabi continuing to play full-out on both ends of the court. Thomas added another block to his record, and Smith drained a three from the top of the arc. Eliyahu and Ohayon continued to score layups, while Hickman added a stop and pop. Eliyahu's dunk put Maccabi's lead at twenty, 82-62 just past the halfway mark in the period. Once again the majority of the points in the second half of the period were scored from the charity stripe, and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv wrapped up the first Tel Aviv derby in six years with a 91-72 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Maccabi: Eliyahu 20 points, 4 assists, 2 steals; Hickman 15 points, 4 assists, 2 steals; Smith 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals; Ohayon 12 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds; Thomas 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 blocks; James 6 points, 4 blocks, 3 rebounds, 2 steals; Pnini 6 points, 5 rebounds; Logan 4 points; Landesberg 4 points, 5 rebounds; Caner-Medley 2 points.