By Amy Samin
In a game that was close from start to finish, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv got by Nes Ziona 89-88 at Menora Mivtachim Arena to claim a 1-0 advantage in the quarterfinal series. Jeremy Pargo was game MVP with 28 points. Yogev Ohayon (21 points, 7 assists) scored the game winning shot in the final seconds, while Brian Randle contributed 20 points.
Starters for Maccabi were Jake Cohen, Brian Randle, Devin Smith, Jeremy Pargo, and Yogev Ohayon. The visitors took a 9-3 lead in the first minutes of the game, until a fast break layup and one by Randle stopped the run. Ohayon drained a three from the right corner (assist Cohen) and eight straight points by Randle tied the score at 17 with two and a half minutes left in the period. Smith added a coast to coast layup, and Pargo delivered two triples to end the quarter with Maccabi leading 25-20.
Randle increased Maccabi's lead to seven early in the second quarter but Nes Ziona woke up and made it a one point game, 29-28 thanks to Preston Knowles after three and a half minutes. The visitors managed to claim the lead just past the halfway mark, but Alex Tyus and Pargo kept Maccabi close. Three straight layups by Nate Linhart balanced out points by Nes Ziona, and the teams went into the break with Maccabi up by one, 49-48.
Tyus and Smith increased Maccabi's advantage at the start of the second half, but the visitors came back and reclaimed the lead, 58-57 just past the halfway mark. Pargo tied the score from the top of the arc with a minute left, but Nes Ziona retook the lead as time ran out, 66-63 going into the fourth quarter.
Pargo and Ohayon made it a one point game in the first two minutes of the final period, but once again Nes Ziona got some breathing room. Two straight buckets by Pargo from outside the arc put Maccabi within one, 75-74 after four minutes, but Nes Ziona held onto the lead despite points from Randle, Pargo, and Ohayon. With forty seconds left, Smith scored from the top of the arc to cut Maccabi's deficit to one, 87-86. A trey from the corner by Ohayon with seven seconds left, and a clutch block by Tyus in the final second, gave Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv an 89-88 victory over Nes Ziona in game 1 of the Israeli Winner Sal League quarterfinals.