Modi’in may be in last place in the Israel League, but that did not stop it from giving a scare to first-place Tel Aviv when the sides met recently in the City of the Maccabees.
Tel Aviv had to rally in the second half in order to avert an upset, which would have allowed second-place Katamon – which was scheduled to play J-Town later in the evening – to be in striking distance of the league leader.
Modi’in (1-7) not only took a surprising 9-7 lead by the end of the first period but went up by four in the second period, to go into halftime ahead 17-13. Tel Aviv regrouped at the break and erased Modi’in’s lead during the third period. The two teams went into the final quarter with the game tied 22-22.
Tel Aviv was never able to dominate as it had in January, when it trounced Modi’in 46-17, but it did manage to outscore the hosts 8-6 down the stretch to prevail 30-28.
The second game of the night was even closer, as Katamon (5-2-1) let victory slip out of its hands and had to settle for a draw with fourth-place J-Town (3-5-1).
The two teams were tied 11-11 after the first period, but Katamon managed to open up a narrow 18-16 lead by halftime. Katamon then took command of the third quarter to go up 32-25.
In the final period, Katamon may have taken the outcome too much for granted, as a determined J-Town roared back with a 15-8 rally, scoring nearly as many points as it had during the entire first half. The result was 40-40, the league’s first tie of the season.
The league now enters the home stretch. Tel Aviv, assured of a first-place finish, played its last game of the regular season Thursday night against Jerusalem Mercaz, which ended after press time. Next Thursday, Modi’in will face off against J-Town, while Ra’anana will play Jerusalem Mercaz. Katamon will take on Modi’in in the regular season finale on June 4. All games are played in Modi’in.