By Amy Samin
In week 18 of the Israeli Winner Sal League, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv dfeated Hapoel Unet Holon by a score of 73-66. Devin Smith was top scorer for Maccabi, with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Ricky Hickman contributed 16 points, and Shawn James grabbed a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Guy Pnini also had a great game, with 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Starters for this festive holiday game were Yogev Ohayon, Guy Pnini, Darko Planinic, Devin Smith, and Ricky Hickman. The game got off to a slow start, with the visitors taking a 5-2 lead. A bucket and 1 by Smith tied the score after a minutes and a half of action, but Holon continued to play hard and retook the lead. Once again it was Smith, joined this time by Shawn James, who made it 12-11 Maccabi with about two minutes left in the period. But Holon picked up the pace, going on an 8-2 scoring run in the final minutes to end the period with a 19-14 lead.
The visitors came out strong in the second quarter, scoring six points before Maccabi, in the person of Sylven Landesberg, put some points on the board, 25-16 after nearly three minutes of play. Baskets by Smith (top of the arc) and Ohayon cut Maccabi's deficit to 34-26 with two and a half minutes left in the half. Holon kept fighting, but points by Hickman, Smith and James put Maccabi within three. In the end the teams went into the break with Holon clinging to a 39-35 lead.
James, Pnini and Hickman made quick work of the deficit at the start of the third quarter, retaking the lead 46-41 after three minutes. Holon stayed close, but a steal plus dunk by Hickman fired up the crowd, and James added points to make it 50-47 with just over four minutes left in the period. Thanks to Jerome Dyson Holon battled their way back into the lead, and the period ended with the visitors up by two, 57-55.
Points by Hickman opened the fourth quarter and tied the score, and two three pointers by Pnini put Maccabi up 65-59 four minutes later. James and Smith added points in the paint, and Smith delivered another bucket from outside the arc to put Maccabi up 72-63 with two minutes left. Great defense by James helped wrap up the game and Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Unet Holon 73-66.
Maccabi: Smith 18 points, 9 rebounds; Hickman 16 points, 4 steals; James 12 points, 10 rebounds, 4 blocks; Pnini 9 points, 6 rebounds; Ohayon 8 points; Planinic 4 points; Logan, Eliyahu and Landesberg 2 points each.