Basketball / Maccabi Tel Aviv Returns to Winning Ways in Haifa

Hapoel Jerusalem breaks losing streak.

Maccabi Tel Aviv cantered to an 87-67 road win against Maccabi Haifa last night in a game that went far to restoring the players' belief in themselves after last week's upset defeat to Rishon Letzion.

With Devin Smith, Yogev Ohayon and Lior Eliyahu in control, Maccabi Tel Aviv raced to a 32-16 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Tel Aviv co ach David Blatt allowed himself to juggle his lineup as Haifa gradually clawed back to 65-57 at the end of the third, but a 13-2 run in the final quarter sealed the 20-point lead.

David Logan was Maccabi's yellows' leading player with 19 points and six assists.

Earlier in the evening, Hapoel Jerusalem registered its first win of the season, 90-71 over Ashdod, which still remains winless. Jerusalem coach Sharon Drucker instructed his charges to play more aggressively following the team's poor opening games, and the hosts were already 17-2 ahead midway through the first quarter.

The Jerusalemites went off the boil in the second quarter and allowed the gap to narrow considerably, but reinforced their superiority in the third quarter and Sharon used the final session to give some of his younger players time on the court.

The 2009-2010 champion Galil/Gilboa also remains winless after three games after going down 86-80 at its Gan Ner arena to newcomer Hapoel Eilat. The game was evenly balanced until midway through the third quarter when Eilat began to pull ahead. The hosts lost their concentration as the game progressed, but some fine three-pointers by Rakim Sanders saw them fight back to 73-73 at the end of regular time. But the visitors pulled ahead again in added time for a valuable win.

Hapoel Holon had to fight back from 21-31 down at the end of the first quarter before eventually brushing off Bnei Herzliya 91-79 to go 3-1 for the season.