By Amy Samin
A 21-0 scoring run at the start of the fourth quarter helped give Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv a 76-64 victory over the second place team in the Israeli Winner Sal League, Maccabi Bazan Haifa. Lior Eliyahu and Savid Logan each scored 18 points, while Devin Smith contributed 16 points, and Shawn James had 6 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Starters for Maccabi were team captain Lior Eliyahu, Ricky Hickman, Shawn James, Yogev Ohayon and Devin Smith. The first quarter got off to a slow start, with Haifa taking a 6-2 lead before a trey by Hickman put Maccabi within one. Hickman, James and Eliyahu combined to put Maccabi up 11-6 halfway through the period. Maccabi's lead grew to 20-9 before Haifa woke up and narrowed the gap at the end of the quarter, 20-16.
The second quarter got underway with a baseline drive by Guy Pnini. Darko Planinic added a putback that made it 24-16, but Haifa came roaring back, and midway through the period had closed within one, 26-25. Maccabi came out of a time out and quickly scored, but Haifa tied things up at 28. The score seesawed, and with two minutes left in the half, Maccabi led 33-30. Hickman added two straight buckets, and a drive in the lane by Pnini set the score going into halftime at 37-30, Maccabi.
Smith got things going at the start of the third quarter with a trey from the left corner, but Haifa quickly pulled within two, 40-38. The score stayed close throughout the period, with Eliyahu and Logan scoring for Maccabi and James adding excellent defense with rebounds and two straight blocks. Just past the halfway mark, Maccabi led 46-44. Logan and Eliyahu continued to add points to the board for Maccabi, but Haifa stayed close, and the period ended with the score 55-53, Maccabi.
Smith also inaugurated the scoring in the fourth quarter, with points from downtown, and a fake shot turned dime to James for the dunk. Logan added three from the right corner to make it 63-55 after three minutes of play. Maccabi continued to play well on both ends of the court, with multiple baskets from both Smith (steal/layup and trey) and Logan (three pointer) giving Maccabi a 74-55 lead halfway through the period. James racked up another block before retiring from the field, and Eliyahu scored Maccabi's final points. The game ended in a 76-64 victory for Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv over Maccabi Bazan Haifa.
Maccabi: Logan 18 points; Eliyahu 18 points, 4 assists; Smith 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists; Hickman 10 points; James 6 points, 7 rebounds, 5 blocks; Pnini 4 points; Landesberg and Planinic 2 points each.