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Israel: More Woe For Galil

27 February 2006

Galil Elyon's season went from bad to worse in the latest round of domestic action in Israel.

Galil, who were participating in the EuroCup earlier this season, suffered their sixth successive defeat after slumping 93-87 on the road to Rishon Lezion.

Galil are still in a rebuilding stage having drafted in some new blood recently but their poor form will be a major worry for coach Oren Amiel.

Amiel's side started well and were ahead 36-28 during the second quarter, but they could not hold on and wasted a great effort from young star Lior Eliyahu as they fell to yet another defeat.

Eliyahu, who was voted into the EuroCup All-Star Day for the second consecutive year recently, scored 28 points, grabbed five rebounds and four assists.

His display helped haul Galil back in the match after Rishon had took control of proceedings at the start of the third period.

But, after Galil had got to within touching distance late on, Rishon pulled away again thanks to scores from Omar Sneed and John Gilchrist.

"We showed a lot of character in the fourth quarter when we came back to minus four (points)," said Eliyahu.

"We had a chance to win the game but a few big shots from Sneed gave Rishon the win.

"We must lift ourselves up because we are not in a good condition. We need to erase everything and start from scratch, because if we carry on like this it will snowball - it will never end."

Sneed paced Rishon with 25 points and eight rebounds while Ryan Sidney contributed 18 points and seven rebounds.

There was also a defeat for one of Israel's other EuroCup teams with Ironi Nahariya becoming the latest victim of runaway leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi were without stars Maceo Baston and Will Solomon, who were missing through suspension and injury respectively, but they still looked in top form early on, racing into a 35-22 lead.

And after Nahariya had staged an impressive comeback by reducing the deficit to 59-57 in the second half, Maccabi moved up through the gears to re-establish their control on the match on the back of a 20-6 run.

That run, plus an impressive 45.5% success-rate on three point shooting where they downed 10 attempts from behind the arc, was key to Maccabi celebrating a 90-83 victory in the end.

Nahariya coach Avi Ashkenazi admits his side's shot accuracy wasn't in the same class as Maccabi.

"We had some good momentum but we didn't make the shots," he said.

"Maccabi came here and shot in very good percentages. We didn't play as we should on defence and had too many ups and downs in that side of the game."

Maccabi guard Derrick Sharp led all scorers with 27 points while he was well-supported by team-mate Anthony Parker, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds.

For Nahariya, Jayson Wells scored 22 points and hauled down 11 rebounds, Otis Hill added 18 points and Cory Carr and Alvin Young both weighed in with 13 points.

It was a more enjoyable round for another of Israel's EuroCup participants with Hapoel Tel Aviv beating Bnei Hasharon 69-67 in a match between two in-form teams.

That was Hapoel's fourth win in five games while it brought to an end a run of four successive victories for Bnei.

Hapoel are now tied with Nahariya and Bnei in fourth spot in the rankings.

"We keep looking up and wish to find our spot in the Final Four at the end of the season," said Hapoel coach Effi Birenboim.

"We led the entire game and deserved the win," he added.

"We were a little under pressure in the last minutes because Bnei came back, but the important thing is that we won. We were strong mentally and that helped us a lot. We force our players to think that defence is important and this is our game."

Marcus Hatten led Hapoel with 20 points, Jeron Roberts added 19 and Rodger Farrington scored 12 with nine rebounds. Ugonna Onyekwe led Bnei with 24 points and Ousmane Cisse had another monster night with 17 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

In other action Hapoel Jerusalem beat Ironi Ramat Gan 72-81 on the road after overtime.

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