By Amy Samin
Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv battled their way to a tough 84 – 79 away win in overtime against Maccabi Bazan Haifa. It was Richard Hendrix’s 13 points in the extra period (19 overall) that secured the win for Maccabi, though Shawn James, who laid claim to a double-double (15 points, 11 rebounds) and David Blu, cool-headed as usual and with a double-double of his own (13 points, 12 rebounds) were also valuable assets in the win.
Maccabi’s starters were Keith Langford, David Blu, Yogev Ohayon, Shawn James, and Guy Pnini. Thanks largely to points by Ohayon and Blu, Maccabi jumped to a 12 – 2 lead in just over four minutes. Theo Papaloukas came in for Ohayon and scored on a drive to the basket to make it 14 – 5, and Jon Scheyer came into the game for Pnini with two minutes left in the period. Richard Hendrix extended Maccabi’s lead to 17 – 8, but Jermaine Jackson and Carlos Powell narrowed the gap for the home team, and the period ended with Maccabi leading 19 – 13.
Haifa kept the momentum on their side at the start of the second quarter, and managed to tie the score at 21 off points by Avi Ben-Chimol and Powell. Ohayon stole the ball and dished to Pnini on the fastbreak to put Maccabi back on top, 23 – 21 three minutes into the period. A reverse layup by Hendrix wasn’t enough as Jackson and Sylven Landesberg scored to put Haifa in the lead 30 – 26 with four minutes left in the period. Three pointers by Pnini and team captain Tal Burstein tied the score at 32, and back-to-back buckets by James put Maccabi up 36 – 35 with thirty seconds left in the half. Landesberg scored from the charity stripe to reclaim the lead for Haifa going into the halftime break, 37 – 36.
Three from Blu in the left corner put Maccabi up 41 – 40 a minute into the third quarter, but Powell responded for the hosts. A putback by James gave the advantage back to Maccabi, and strong defense by Maccabi kept Haifa under ten points for the first five minutes of the period, while a one-handed dunk by Burstein (assist Langford) set the score at 47 – 44. The home team bounced back, retaking a 50 – 47 lead off a three pointer by Ben-Chimol with three minutes left. Burstein and James scored for Maccabi to give the team from Tel Aviv a slim lead at the end of three quarters, 51 – 50.
The two teams continued to battle in the fourth quarter, with Haifa going ahead on points by Jermaine Jackson 56 – 55, four minutes into the period. Langford brought Maccabi back into the game with a drive to the basket followed by two from the foul line to make it 59 – 57, Maccabi with three and a half minutes left in the quarter. Ty Wilkerson and Landesberg didn’t give up, and took their team to 63 – 59 with two and a half on the clock, but Hendrix and Langford (assist Papaloukas) responded to tie it at 63 with just over a minute left. Jackson’s bucket put the home team ahead 65 – 63 as the clock ran down into seconds remaining, but Blu sank a long two from the left side (assist Papaloukas) to tie it up at 65 – 65, and a steal by Langford on Haifa’s last possession gave Maccabi the chance to win in OT.
The five-minute extra period got underway with excellent defense by Papaloukas and six straight points by Hendrix, making it 71 – 65 with two minutes elapsed. Jackson scored for Haifa but was answered by Blu and Hendrix, who extended Maccabi’s lead to seven: 77 – 70 with two minutes remaining. Ben-Chimol scored twice but was answered by Langford, Hendrix, Papaloukas and Pnini, who made it 81 – 73 with twenty seconds left. Hendrix, who was unstoppable as well as tireless under the baskets, wrapped things up with a bucket and 1 to give Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv an 84 – 79 OT win over Maccabi Bazan Haifa.
Maccabi: Hendrix 19 points, 8 rebounds; James 15 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks; Blu 13 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal; Burstein 9 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist; Pnini 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist; Ohayon 8 points, 3 assists, 1 rebound; Langford 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists; Papaloukas 4 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block.
Top scorers for Haifa: Jackson 20 points; Landesberg 17 points; Ben-Chimol 16 points.