In front of a home crowd that included 700 children from communities in besieged southern Israel, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv easily handled Maccabi Offici Rishon Lezion, 90 – 73. Keith Langford led Maccabi’s scorers with 19 points and 6 assists. Richard Hendrix came close to a double double, scoring 18 points and taking 8 rebounds. Lior Eliyahu added 14 points and 7 rebounds, while Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith each contributed 12 points. Tomorrow (Monday) the team takes off for Slovenia for their Adriatic League game on Tuesday against Helios Domžale.
Keith Langford, Devin Smith, Yogev Ohayon, Richard Hendrix and Lior Eliyahu started the game for Maccabi. The first quarter got off to a great start that included two three pointers by Smith (assists Hendrix and Langford), and points by Hendrix, Ohayon, and Eliyahu that made it 12 – 3 four minutes into the period. Minutes later, two straight buckets by Hendrix put Maccabi’s lead at 16 – 6, but Rishon Lezion were able to cut the lead down to five before layups by Ohayon and Langford built it back up. The period ended with points by Brandon Bowman for Rishon but with Maccabi ahead 20 – 13.
Sofo Schortsanitis got the second quarter started right with a finger-roll off a dish from Langford. Hendrix added a putback slam that made it 24 – 16 after a minute and a half of play in the period. Joe Crawford and company pulled Rishon within four, 26 – 22 near the halfway mark, but Langford and Eliyahu combined for 8 points and one assist each, putting Maccabi up 37 – 29 with under two minutes left in the half. Bowman’s bucket and 1 helped Rishon a little, but the period ended with Maccabi leading 41 – 35.
Rishon whittled their deficit down to three points three times in the early minutes of the third quarter, but Maccabi dug deep and rebuilt their lead with points from Eliyahu, Smith, and Hendrix – 56 – 44 just past the midway point in the period. Derwin Kitchen and Bowman scored to stop Maccabi’s run at 9 – 0, but two assists by Guy Pnini (first to Langford, who delivered from downtown, then an alley oop to Hendrix) and points by David Blu and Ohayon ended the quarter with Maccabi up 66 – 51.
Pnini kicked off the fourth quarter with a trey on the right wing, and Blu added a snazzy reverse layup to put Maccabi’s lead at twenty, 71 – 51. Rishon continue to put up a good fight, but Maccabi kept returning to thatpoint spread, 78 – 58 after points by Ohayon (assist Sofo) with six minutes to go, and 83 – 63 following points from Pnini outside the arc with 3:40 remaining. In the end, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv came away with a 90 – 73 win over Maccabi Offici Rishon Lezion.
Maccabi: Langford 19 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, 2 rebounds; Hendrix 18 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 block; Eliyahu 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists; Smith 12 points, 7 rebounds; Ohayon 12 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal; Pnini 6 points, 4 assists; Blu 4 points4 rebounds, 1 assist; Schortsanitis 4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist; Burstein 1 point.
Top scorers for Rishon: Crawford 27 points; Bowman 17 points.