Sheffer Appearance Can't Lift Hapoel Tel Aviv To Win

From Yarone Arbel, PA Sport, Tel Aviv

The three Israel clubs who took part in the EuroCup this season had mixed results on the domestic front this week.

Galil Elyon and Ironi Nahariya won impressively but Hapoel Tel Aviv, despite the surprise season debut of Doron Sheffer, blew a 15-point advantage with just four minutes to go at Maccabi Rishon LeZion and lost 90-86 in overtime.

It was Hapoel's sixth defeat in the Israeli top flight.

Sheffer, 33, came out of retirement for the second time in his career this week but was not expected to play in their midweek game.

With his fitness deemed good enough, the former Israeli international hit the court and contributed 13 points and three assists.

The game was a defensive struggle for the better part of the contest and with the hosts managing just seven third-quarter points, Hapoel appeared to take control.

It would have been a perfect return for Sheffer as his team led 66-51, but Rishon made their way back into the game with Or Eitan, who played for Hapoel in previous seasons, waking up just in time.

He finished four of 12 from behind the arc and in the last 90 seconds of regulation sank three amazing three-pointers in succession.

Hapoel then hurt their own cause by missing crucial free throws and Rishon sent the game to the extra period with the teams tied at 74-74.

Moran Roth stepped up in the extra period and helped Rishon win for the fifth time in eight games.

Roth finished with 19 points, Omar Sneed 18 and Or Eitan 15.

In addition to Sheffer's efforts, Jeron Roberts led Hapoel with 21 and Marcus Hatten scored 18.

"We came back from the grave," said Rishon's coach and former Israel national team player Guy Goodes.

Eitan had similar sentiment.

"It seemed like the game was lost," he said. "The three-point shots went in out of nowhere and I'm shocked that we won the game." 

Galil bounce back

Galil Elyon were seething heading into their home game against Ramat Hasharon after suffering a 14-point defeat to a second division side Maccabi Petakh Tikva in the Israeli Cup.

Ramat Hasharon, who entered the contest on the back of their first win, a 90-88 triumph over Bnei Hasharon, suffered a backlash as Galil won 106-91.

Jeremy Veal scored the first 10 points for Ramat Hasharon but 18-year-old Galil point guard Yogev Okhayon set up numerous shots for the hosts who led 52-41 by half-time.

Uche Nsonwu, Jay Straight and Lior Eliyahu took care of business in the second half for Galil, who opened a 20-point gap before the final quarter and that was enough to decide the game.

Nsonwu finished with 25 points and 13 rebounds, Straight had 18 points and nine assists, Sasa Bratic poured in 17 points and Eliyahu had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Okhayon finished with 13 points and nine assists himself.

David Logan, who joined Ramat Hasharon only this week, scored 26 while Veal had 24.

Ironi Nahariya claim another big victory

Ironi Nahariya clinched their third win in four games with an 86-65 victory at Ashkelon.

Each of their successes has been by 20 points or more.

The game was a big reunion for Cory Carr and Avi Soucar, who played for Ashkelon last season, and Jayson Wells whose first career stop in Israel was with Ashkelon.

Now all three play for Nahariya and it there was no room for sentiment.

Nahariya led 37-33 at half-time and then grabbed a vice-like grip on the game in the third quarter when they outscored their opponents 26-12.

Brian Tolbert had 18 while for the losing side, Andre McCollum contributed 15.

Otis Hill with 21 points and Carr with 18 were joined by 13 points each by Soucar and Wells.

Soucar admitted he had looked forward to his return to Ashkelon.

"The will to win is deep in the heart, and everybody in Nahariya plays with the heart," he said.

"I couldn't breath right when I first stepped onto the court, because I was very excited."

In the last game of the night, Ironi Ramat Gan beat Givat 77-72.

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