BSL leaders Eilat, Holon triumph at home

Southerners rally for OT victory over careless Hapoel Jerusalem • Kiryat Gat puts up little fight.

May 5, 2017 05:44
2 minute read.
Hapoel Eilat forward Will Daniels (center) scores two of his 16 points during last night’s 86-80 ove

Hapoel Eilat forward Will Daniels (center) scores two of his 16 points during last night’s 86-80 overtime win against Hapoel Jerusalem. (photo credit: FRANCISCO DI STASIO/BSL)

Hapoel Eilat and Hapoel Holon maintained the status quo at the summit of the BSL standings on Thursday night, improving to a 20-10 record to move two games clear of their closest rival with three regular season games to play.

Eilat claimed a dramatic 86-80 overtime win over Hapoel Jerusalem, coming back from 12 points down to register a 14th victory from its past 16 games. A Will Daniels three-pointer with 10.3 seconds to play forced overtime and Eilat dominated the extra period for its eighth consecutive win, triumphing for a 10th straight game at home.

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Daniels led Eilat with 16 points, while Yotam Halperin scored 20 points for Jerusalem, which fell to 16-14 after having its three-game winning streak snapped.

“We are very proud of the way we are playing,” said Eilat coach Oded Katash, who was named earlier in the day as the BSL coach of the month for April. “There is still a long way to go until we can win a title, but our quest to get there has been special and that is something which will not be forgotten.”

Holon had a far calmer night, thrashing rock-bottom Maccabi Kiryat Gat 100-72. Tu Holloway scored 18 points for Holon, while Josh Selby had 25 points for Kiryat Gat, which fell to 4-26.

After a tight first half in Eilat ended with Jerusalem holding a six-point lead (39-33), the visitors built a double-digit margin in the third quarter, leading by as many as 12 points (56-44).

Two straight three-pointers by Afik Nissim followed by Alon Sapir’s mid-court buzzer-beater brought Eilat to within five points (60-55) by the end of the period and the hosts built on the momentum at the start of the fourth frame.

A Daniels lay-up capped a 12-2 run that gave Eilat its first lead of the second half and a tight finish would ensue. Jerusalem took a three-point edge (74-71) into the final minute of regulation, but couldn’t capitalize on it and Daniels tied the score with a three.

The game went into overtime after Curtis Jerrells’s threepoint attempt at the buzzer went in and out and Eilat would control the extra period, outscoring Jerusalem 12-6 for an impressive win.

On Friday, Roei Hagay guides Hapoel Tel Aviv (13-16) for the first time when it hosts Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (12-17). Hagay replaced Rami Hadar, who resigned after less than four months at the helm.

A victory will bring Hapoel to within a single game of Maccabi Haifa in eighth place in the battle for the final playoff berth. The last ticket to the postseason could be awarded on the final day of the regular season, when Haifa hosts Hapoel at Romema Arena.

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