By Amy Samin
Yogev Ohayon (20 points, 8 assists) led Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to a 104 – 100 overtime victory over arch-rival Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem at Malha Arena. David Blu contributed 17 points, Keith Langford added 16, and Richard Hendrix scored 15 points. Team captain Tal Burstein celebrated his 32nd birthday with 12 points.
Keith Langford, Demond Mallet, Guy Pnini, Richard Hendrix and Lior Eliyahu started the game for Maccabi. The game got underway with a three pointer by Yuval Naimi for Jerusalem, but Langford soon responded in kind, and Pnini’s spin and in (assist Eliyahu) made it 5 – 3 Maccabi a minute and a half into the period. Jerusalem quickly retook the lead, but Sofo Schortsanitis and Langford put together a 7 – 0 run to make it 12 – 7, Maccabi close to the halfway mark. Jerusalem battled their way back and once again grabbed the lead, this time off points by Brian Randle, 16 – 14 with just under three minutes left in the quarter. A catch and shoot by David Blu at the top of the key wasn’t enough to make up the difference, and the quarter ended with Jerusalem leading 23 – 17.
The first two and a half minutes of the second period showcased the range of talent possessed by Yogev Ohayon, who delivered two assists, scored six straight points (a trey from the right corner – assist Blu, and a drive in the lane and 1), and stole the ball. Maccabi tied the score at 28 off a three pointer by team captain Tal Burstein on the left wing. A putback by DJ Strawberry put Jerusalem back on top, but Blu, Ohayon and Hendrix combined to put Maccabi up by two, 35 – 33 with three and a half minutes left in the period. The final minutes of the half fluctuated between a tie and a slight advantage to Jerusalem, and time ran out with the hosts leading 44 – 42.
A strong effort by Sofo at the start of the third quarter gave Maccabi a 48 – 46 lead after a minute and a half of play. Dan Grunfeld and Strawberry returned the lead to Jerusalem, extending it to five points, 53 – 48. Pnini found Hendrix in the paint for a bucket (which was followed by a trip to the foul line for the extra point), then sank a trey to put Maccabi back within one, 55 – 54 close to midway through the period. Ohayon scored from downtown following a 6 – 0 run by the home team, but Jerusalem came back to craft a ten point lead, 67 – 57 with just over a minute left in the period. Six straight points by Blu brought Maccabi close again, and a buzzer-beater from outside the arc by Ohayon finished the quarter with Maccabi down by three, 69 – 66.
Maccabi cut their deficit down to only one point early in the fourth quarter, but Jerusalem once again fought back, taking a five point lead after three minutes, 74 – 69. Three pointers by Burstein, Jon Scheyer, and Langford put the lead back in Maccabi’s hands, 81 – 79 with less than three minutes remaining. Ramel Bradley tied the game from the charity stripe, but Hendrix downed a one-handed dunk in response. Bradley knotted the score again, at 83, but this time it was Burstein who answered with a steal plus coast-to-coast layup. Once again Bradley scored, but from three point range this time, to put Jerusalem up 86 – 85 with less than forty seconds left. Langford’s drive in the lane and 1 made it 88 – 86, Maccabi with nineteen seconds on the clock, and Naimi’s one point from the foul line wasn’t enough help for the home team. Blu scored two free throws to put Maccabi up 90 – 87 with eight seconds remaining, but on Jerusalem’s last possession Langford fouled Bradley outside the arc, and the guard downed all three foul shots to take the game into overtime tied at 90 – 90.
A free throw by Hendrix just seconds into the extra period was soon answered by points from Bradley and Grunfeld. Once again Hendrix scored from the charity stripe, making it 94 – 93, Jerusalem. Elishay Kadir scored one free throw, but a layup by Ohayon soon tied the score at 95 all. Burstein’s points from the foul line gave Maccabi the lead, and Hendrix added two more points from the same location. Ohayon’s layup with a minute left in the overtime period broke the century mark, 101 – 96, Maccabi; he then went on to serve up one last dish, to Hendrix for the dunk. Despite three final points by Grunfeld in the last seconds, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv went on to defeat Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem 104 – 100.
Maccabi: Ohayon 20 points, 8 assists, 3 steals, 1 rebound; Blu 17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal; Langford 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; Hendrix 15 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block; Burstein 12 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist; Schortsanitis 12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block; Pnini 5 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal; Eliyahu 4 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal; Scheyer 3 points.
Top scorers for Hapoel Jerusalem: Naimi 19 points; Bradley 17 points; Strawberry 16 points.