Hapoel Jerusalem forward Tony Gaffney.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Three days after the humbling defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the State Cup final, Hapoel Jerusalem bounced back with a 76-68 win at Ironi Ness Ziona in BSL action on Wednesday night.
Jerusalem was outplayed in the second half of the cup final on Sunday on the way to a 94-76 defeat to Maccabi. However, Danny Franco’s team made it four BSL wins in a row on Wednesday, improving to 14-6 to strengthen its hold on second place in the standings.
Jerusalem built a double-digit lead (42-32) by the halftime break and allowed Ness Ziona no closer than six points in the second half.
Donta Smith led Hapoel with 21 points and 14 rebounds, with Yotam Halperin adding 21 points.
Gil Amity had 21 points for Ness Ziona, which has lost its way in recent weeks after an encouraging start to the season, falling to 10-10 on Wednesday with its fifth consecutive defeat.
BSL action continues on Thursday, with Maccabi Haifa hosting Hapoel Eilat in a showdown between two teams aiming to get back on track.
Haifa (8-12) has lost three straight league games, including an 87-72 defeat to Bnei Herzliya on Monday.
The Greens are also still reeling from squandering a five-point gap in the final minute of the State Cup semifinals against Maccabi Tel Aviv, ultimately losing in overtime.
Eilat (9-10) will be guided by new coach Arik Shivek for the first time.
The former Israel national team coach replaced Dan Shamir, who was sacked after Eilat was thrashed 97-65 by Jerusalem in the cup semis last week.