Hapoel Holon leveled its best-of-five BSL playoff series against Hapoel
Jerusalem at 1-1 on Sunday, snapping a three-game losing streak to its nemesis
with a 72-70 home win.
Holon trailed throughout the fourth quarter and
seemed to be doomed after failing to score a single field goal in the first
seven minutes of the final frame.
However, Jerusalem completely lost its
scoring touch in the final minutes, including from the free-throw line, and Oded
Sha’ashoua’s three-pointer with 35 seconds to play gave Holon a one-point lead
(71-70) the hosts wouldn’t squander.
“Every game in this series is a
battle,” said Holon coach Dan Shamir. “I’m very happy we will return to Malha at
“As always in the playoffs, the next game is always the most
important one of the series.”
Bryant Dunston had 18 points and nine
rebounds for Holon, with Moran Rot adding 15. Ron Lewis and Tasmin Mitchell
contributed 14 points each.
“I felt I let the team down in the first game
so I came out to make a statement tonight,” said Dunston.
scored 18 for Jerusalem, which hosts Game 3 at Malha Arena on
Holon got off to the better start, but Jerusalem was down by
just two points (20-18) after one period and Ramel Bradley gave the visitors a
30-29 edge with six minutes to play in the first half, Jerusalem’s first lead
Jerusalem was still ahead at the break (41-36), but the teams
were separated by just a single point (55-54) with 10 minutes to
Both sides struggled for points in the final frame, but crucially
it was Holon which broke out of the slump first to claim a crucial
Ironi Ashkelon is one win away from recording a surprise sweep of
Maccabi Rishon Lezion after taking a 2-0 lead on Sunday with an 81-80 home
Rishon opened a 28-19 lead after 10 minutes, but Ashkelon
outscored the visitors 24-7 in the second period to take a 43-35 gap into the
Ashkelon seemed to be cruising when it held a 74-60 margin with
three minutes remaining, but Rishon never stopped to fight and Derwin Kitchen’s
basket with 13.5 seconds remaining tied the score at 80-80.
comeback would not be completed, with Ashkelon’s Niv Berkowitz hitting his first
free throw with 0.6 seconds to play before intentionally missing his second to
clinch Ashkelon’s win.
Marco Killingsworth led Ashkelon with 23 points
and seven rebounds, while Nitzan Hanochi scored 18 for Rishon, which hosts Game
3 on Thursday.
“We took a big step towards the Final Four tonight,” said
Ashkelon coach Eric Alfasi.
“We couldn’t close out the game, but our
defense eventually gave us the win. Now we need to finish off the
On Monday, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, which ended the regular season
in second place, faces a crucial game at Maccabi Ashdod after losing the series
opener at home, while Maccabi Tel Aviv visits BC Habika’a.