By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv preserved their first-place standing in the Winner League after defeating Ironi Ashkelon and their new coach, Robbie Belinko.
Raviv Limonad made a sensational debut with Maccabi, scoring 11 points and making 3 assists.
Maccabi started the game with Charles Gaines, Marcus Brown, Carlos Arroyo, Lior Eliyahu and Omri Casspi, while
The game got off to a slow start, and with Maccabi scoring off a three-pointer by Brown and a basket by Eliyahu in the first half of the period, the score stood at 8 – 5 Ashkelon after 5 minutes.
But Maccabi turned things around with a dazzling 13 – 0 scoring run to take the lead, 18 – 8 with two and a half minutes left in the quarter.
Marcus Brown had a hot hand, Arroyo handed out gifts, and the Casspiyahu show came back to town.
There was just enough time for Limonad to step out on the court for the first time in yellow, and for Brown to fire off another shot from downtown (11 points in the first period); the first period ended in a solid lead for Maccabi, 25 – 13.
Maccabi slowed the tempo at the start of the second quarter, and head coach Pini Gershon used the opportunity to send in some of the second string, but saw only one basket by Eliyahu in the first two and a half minutes of the period, 27 – 17.
Strong defense by Dror Hagag and Limonad protected Maccabi’s double-digit lead, but in the end slow minutes on offense for the home team allowed Ashkelon to close in, 37 – 31 with three minutes until halftime.
In spite of a three-pointer by Arroyo and a nice basket plus one for Aaron McGhee, the visitors refused to allow Maccabi to break away.
A nimble assist from Casspi to Limonad finished off the first half, with Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv leading 47 – 36.
Maccabi’s game remained relaxed and smooth at the start of the second half, with a well-oiled offense, fast breaks and superb direction by Limonad.
With four minutes remaining in the third period, Maccabi’s lead had grown to 67 – 46 and
A string of shots by Kelley allowed the visitors to close in, but the quarter ended with a strong Maccabi lead, 74 – 59.
The shots just wouldn’t fall for Maccabi at the start of the fourth quarter, and
The last minutes of the game saw a number of quick baskets by
At the final buzzer: a 97 – 86 victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv.
Maccabi: Gaines 18 points (7 rebounds); Arroyo 16 points (10 assists); M. Brown 16 points; Eliyahu 12 points; Limonad 11 points; Casspi 10 points; D. Brown 8 points; McGhee and Hagag, 3 points each.
After the game, Pini Gershon said, “Limonad could have been better, but for a start he was okay.
McGhee didn’t have enough time on the court to show off his ability, and I didn’t want to make things tough for him.
At his position, it will take him a lot of time to get into the swing of things.”
The coach added, “We are enjoying every day.
We get together, and every practice is a good experience.
People enjoy their work here.
I think we’re the best team in
Man of the hour Raviv Limonad said, “I don’t expect to star, but to help the team out with whatever they need.
I hope I can contribute strong defense, and to help out on offense to the best of my ability.
Whatever is asked of me, I will do.
It’s a kind of dream come true for me.”