By Amy Samin
Guy Pnini, D’or Fischer, Chuck Eidson, David Bluthenthal and Andrew Wisniewski started the game for Maccabi, while Bnei Hasharon led off with Ron Steele, Sam Clancy, Ben Rice, Shawn James and Ori Ichaki.
The first quarter got underway with Maccabi looking polished and poised.
A mid-range jumper by Fischer and three from the corner by Eidson put Maccabi up 5 – 0 in the first minute of the game.
Clancy and Steele put the visitors on the scoreboard, but another jump shot by Fish and a three pointer by Wiz after a double steal gave Maccabi a six point lead, 10 – 4.
Ironclad defense by Maccabi held Bnei Hasharon in check, while the home team garnered a pair of threes halfway through the period, one from Wisniewski off an assist by Pnini, and the second a Bluthenthal special from the top of the arc: 18 – 6 Maccabi.
Fischer drained yet another jumper from the top of the key (could a three-pointer from the center be on the menu for Thursday’s game?), while Bluthenthal sank a fade-away off the glass and Wiz nailed a shot from outside the arc to put Maccabi up by eleven with under two minutes left on the clock.
Along with the dazzling offense, Maccabi stayed tough on defense, forcing a shot clock violation on the visitors.
At the end of the quarter, Maccabi led 27 – 16.
Bnei Hasharon looked a little better at the start of the second quarter, but was still no match for Maccabi.
Bluthenthal scored from the corner after a series of crisp passes from Doron Perkins to Wiz to Blu, and Yaniv Green drove up the middle to drop in a bucket, making it 32 – 23.
Green continued to shine with two more baskets (including a dunk) and a block.
Alan Anderson scored off an assist from Pnini, then sent a perfect oop to Perk, whose dunk put Maccabi up 40 – 30 at the halfway mark in the period.
Pnini mailed in a special delivery from the corner, and Anderson scored four times in a row for Maccabi to put the home team’s lead at eleven, 51 – 40 with seconds left in the period.
Pnini was fouled at the buzzer and sank both free throws to close out the half with Maccabi firmly in the lead, 53 – 40.
Maccabi started the second half like it was the opening tip off, going on an 8 – 0 scoring run, with points by Pnini, Bluthenthal and especially Fischer with 5; with three minutes gone the score was 61 – 40.
When Bluthenthal scored off an assist from Eidson, Maccabi’s lead swelled to twenty-two, 63 – 41.
As in the first half, Maccabi’s defense shackled Bnei Hasharon, who scored only three points in the first five minutes of the period.
Fish added a couple more jumpers to his stats, including a slick fade-away from the side, and Pnini drained a three pointer to keep Maccabi’s lead above the twenty point mark.
Perkins sank a bomb from the suburbs with just over a minute left in the quarter, then scored twice more to finish off the period with Maccabi leading 79 – 57.
The top half of the final quarter belonged to Raviv Limonad, who scored seven points in four minutes.
Green’s jump shot at the halfway mark put the score at 91 – 69, and his block on Ichaki brought a roar of approval from the fans.
But no one makes Maccabi fans cheer louder than team captain Derrick Sharp, who sank a three pointer from the left wing and brought the crowd to its feet.
Three more shots from outside the arc, all by Perkins, were the finishing touches to a superb victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv over Eshet Tours Bnei Hasharon, 104 – 82.
Maccabi now leads the best of five series, 2 – 1.
Maccabi: Perkins 21 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists; Bluthenthal 16 points; Fischer 15 points; Anderson 12 pints, 8 assists; Green, Wisniewski and Pnini 9 points each; Limonad 7 points; Eidson 3 pints, 7 rebounds; Sharp 3 points.
Bnei Hasharon: Top scorers were: Steele and Tucker 18 points each; Ichaki 12 points; Clancy 11 points.
After the game, Maccabi head coach Pini Gershon said, “I don’t want to go back to the first game, because there were a lot of things that prevented us from getting into the game.
The last two games have gone well, we had good percentages, we guarded well, and we ran our plays; we need to keep it up and do our job every game.
The next game is a whole new game, and you can’t talk about the point differences.
We need to win the next game and then look forward.”
Team captain Derrick Sharp, who contributed three points to the game, said, “We’re not celebrating yet.
We don’t care how much we win by, we just want the wins.
There’s no “easy” in basketball; in our games obviously not.
We just do our jobs; we don’t worry about anything else.”
When asked if the team was in shock after the first game in the series (which Maccabi lost, 89 – 79) Sharp laughed and said, “We weren’t in shock, they just played better…The most important thing is how we play.”