By Amy Samin
Raviv Limonad, Guy Pnini, Andrew Wisniewski, Alan Anderson and D’or Fischer started for Maccabi, while Jeremy Pargo, Gal Mekel, Dion Dowell, Elishay Kadir and Brian Randle did the honors for the visiting Gilboa/Galil.
Maccabi’s Israeli players opened strong, with points from Limonad and two rebounds by Pnini to put Maccabi up 4 – 2 in the first two minutes of the game.
Pnini with a putback and a three pointer from the right wing helped Maccabi’s lead grow to 11 – 5.
Anderson also had a great quarter, with a steal, 100% free throw shooting, and a three from the left corner. Maccabi stayed tough on defense, while Limonad drained one from downtown to make it 19 – 10, Maccabi, with a minute and a half remaining.
Limonad added a steal plus two, but Mekel and company didn’t give up, with Avishay Gordon hitting from three point range and Isaiah Swann adding another at the buzzer to close out the quarter: 24 – 18, Maccabi.
Gilboa came out strong in the second quarter, scoring a quick four points to cut Maccabi’s lead to two.
They then followed up an alley-oops with a proper oop to Kadir to make it 26 – 24 after three minutes of play.
Three from Doron Perkins in the corner woke Maccabi up, and Limonad quickly added another steal plus two, giving Maccabi some breathing room with a 31 – 24 lead after four minutes.
Guni Israeli added a three for the visitors, but Maccabi gunned the engine and went on an 13 – 0 scoring run that included a shot from downtown and a drive to the paint by Anderson plus 4 of 4 shooting from the charity stripe by Perk to put Maccabi up 48 – 33 with less than two minutes in the half.
Layups from Perkins (off a bomb from Wiz) and Bluthenthal rounded out the period, and the teams went into halftime with Maccabi leading by eighteen, 55 – 37.
Maccabi stayed in high gear in the third quarter, with a three from Perk making it a twenty point lead, 58 – 38 after a minute.
Randle took charge for Gilboa, scoring in the paint and narrowing the gap to 60 – 46 with four minutes gone.
Anderson continued to be perfect from the line, while Bluthenthal showed he hasn’t forgotten his catch-and-shoot for three roots; he soon added a pretty fade-away jumper to make it 67 – 49.
Yaniv Green came into the game with 1:35 on the clock and quickly scored, then Pnini sent an oop to Stephane Lasme to make it 73 – 52.
Wiz threw out a Hail Mary at the buzzer which bounced off the glass and in, ending the period with Maccabi up 76 – 53.
Lasme and Perkins dominated in the final quarter, with the latter scoring in the paint off a dish from Bluthenthal to make it 83 – 61 at the halfway mark.
Perkins racked up another steal, a drive in the lane and one to put Maccabi up 86 – 68 with three minutes left in the game.
Moti Moscovitz added some points for Gilboa, but it was all over for the boys in red.
Playing role reversal, Fish sent an oop to Perkins to give the latter a new personal record for the season with thirty seconds on the clock.
The home team eased up on the gas enough to let the visitors narrow the gap, but the game ended with another victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv, 93 – 81 over Gilboa/Galil.
Maccabi: Perkins 26 points; Anderson 17 points; Limonad 13 points; Bluthenthal 11 points; Wisniewski 9 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists; Lasme 7 points, 5 rebounds; Pnini 6 points, 6 rebounds; Green 2 points; Fischer 2 points, 12 rebounds.
Sharp played but did not score.
Gilboa: Israeli 18 points; Randle and Kadir 16 points each; Mekel 10 points; Moscovitz 8 points; Pargo 7 points; Gordon 6 points.
“We got off to a good start.
The idea was to get them into foul trouble,” explained game MVP Doron Perkins. “Galil has a good team, but they don’t have enough depth.
This wasn’t preparation for Real Madrid.
We needed to prepare for the game against Galil, because they’re a team that can surprise you.
Now we need to concentrate on Madrid.”
“I feel more confident, I’m making more shots, and I’m on the court more.
The scouts for the other teams don’t really follow me like they do other players and I don’t believe they pay that much attention to me.
It makes things easier for me and I do everything I can for the team.”
Coach Pini Gershon said, “We don’t need to apologize for the way games end up.
I’m here because a lot of times when I was on the other side, I came to beat Maccabi and I did it.
It didn’t matter who the team was, I always came to win and we did it.
The idea is to win when we play teams in Europe who have twice our budget, no matter where.”
“Before games like this I always worry.
Maybe that’s what keeps us going.
It’s a game that also could have ended with a thirty point difference.
At some point I also lost control.
In practice, we play 5 on 5 and the results are more balanced.”
Gershon added, “When it gets to a 10 – 15 point lead and they start playing catch up, and there are silly calls, that’s what it looks like.
I’ve been saying for years that I wish the other teams would get closer to Maccabi’s level.
If they were managed like they should be, and not just throwing money around, maybe it would be possible to achieve something.
You don’t need 15 million dollars, but you do need to invest and build for the long-term.”