6th placed Holon hosted 5th placed Ashdod and used a good all-around team game to get a justified win, 87 – 82.
Elizur Holon 87 – Maccabi Ashdod 82
If you look at the standings and records, this really looks like a big win for Holon, first win over a top-5 team. If you look at the actual game, there was no favorite or underdog here. Two evenly matched teams, one of which has been playing together from day one while the other is still trying to figure out how to play together. Holon controlled the game through out, Ashdod made several runs here and there to erase deficits and even take a momentary lead, but it was all individual effort and they never led by more than 2. Still they trailed by just 2 with a minute left to play.
"I think the final deficit is an optical mistake, everything was up to us today" said Meir Eliyahu. "We really wanted to beat a top-5 team, we came close all season and lost each time. This was our challenge, to prove that we can", he continued. Holon is still far from the top 5, but they're not giving up. "We don’t want the league to end. There's the upper playoff too and we'll keep playing", he added. Holon can be very pleased with the performance of the entire team today, foreigners and Israelis.
As for Ashdod, several problems were apparent tonight. The first was Bat El Lazmi's 1st quarter injury, she couldn't really return to the court afterwards. Without her, Ashdod's weird lineup became even weirder. Jennifer Fleischer started over Krystal Vaughn who is no center and frankly, we're not sure what she is or how she's supposed to fit in this puzzle. When they played together it didn't seem to work either. Bottom line is Ashdod did not play team basketball tonight, the heavy lineup had trouble getting back on defense, and the unforced mistakes at the end cost them dearly.
Holon started out well while Ashdod turned the ball over and was soft on defense, 8-5 after 4 minutes. Fleischer did a good job defensively and on the boards and also had her first basket, Tamara Moore's first points helped tie the score at 14. Ashdod had a chance to finish the quarter with a lead but Ayana Walker got a block and Edwina Brown raced for a layup, 18-16.
Edneisha Curry hit a 3 to increase the lead but Brasheeda Elohim answered with a 3pt play. Ashdod's defense was still sleeping and after Baker got a tough shot to go in, Holon got another easy basket. The game stayed close for a few minutes before Curry hit another 3 and Lin Golan scored 4 points on the break, 40 – 31 with 2 minutes to go in the half. Things stayed the same as Ashdod remembered to play defense only on the final possession of the quarter, they trailed 35-45 at the half.
Ashdod started the 3rd with Moore, Baker, Elohim, Vaugh and Fleischer, first time that lineup has been used this season. Vaughn scored a quick basket and Moore, who did more damage than good in the 1st half, scored five points to cut the lead to 44-45. Shiran Zairy stopped Holon's drought with another 3, but Moore with two great dishes to Fleischer tied the score at 48. Holon made it a 5-point game again but Moore in an excellent quarter (13 points) added two more and Vaughn hit a 3 to give Ashdod a 59-57 lead. Walker tied it from the line and Adi Lux hit two threes to help Holon rebuild its halftime lead nearly in its entirety, 68-61.
Ashdod didn’t give up and used free throws to get within 66-68. Bar Gilinski with an offensive rebound and two free throws got Holon on the board after 3 minutes, Walker stopped Vaughn and scored on the other end to make it 72-66. Ashdod's offense was stuck, Fleischer picked up her 5th foul and Zairy with a big 3 made it 76-68, 4 minutes to go. The game seemed over before Karin Agassi with two free throws and a 3 cut the lead to just 4, Ashdod got a stop and Elohim was sent to the line. Luckily for Holon she missed both, and Zairy found Walker for an easy layup. Holon pressed the ball and Ashdod turned it over, Brown from the line pushed it to 80-73, 2 minutes left. Baker with a drive and Agassi with a 3 made it just 78-80 with 1:15 left but Ashdod ended the game with a streak of errors and missed shots under pressure, and Holon as they did all game long, made them pay.
Edwina Brown 19 pts, 7 rebs, 6 ast
Ayana Walker 19 pts, 7 rebs
Ednisha Curry 11 pts
Shiran Zairy 11 pts
Adi Lux 9 pts
Bar Gilinski 8 pts
Lin Golan 6 pts
Tamara Moore 23 pts, 9 rebs
Sherill Baker 15 pts
Jeniffer Flischer 13 pts, 7 rebs
Brashida Elohim 11 pts, 7 rebs
Krystal Vaughn 9 pts
Karin Agasi 8 pts
Bat El Lazmi 3 pts
Brown Vs. Fleischer
Photo: Motti Klinger