BSL Notebook: A three-horse race to sneak in

By ADAM MILLER
April 8, 2009 07:26
2 minute read.

As the BSL season winds down, the playoff picture is beginning to look a lot clearer as teams continue to jockey for home-court advantage. The last postseason spot, however, is completely up for grabs. Ironi Ramat Gan, Givat Shmuel and Ashkelon are all separated by just one game. Here is a look at what each of the three teams must do if they want to advance. Ironi Ramat Gan It's been a year of two teams for Ramat Gan. On the one hand, Ramat Gan coach Amir Uzi has seen his team demontrate they can beat anyone, after thrashing Hapoel Jerusalem by 16 points in their last matchup. On the other hand, though, his team has been on the losing end of more than its share of blowouts. The team's next two matchups (vs Bnei HaSharon and Maccabi Rishon Lezion) are against teams it lost to in the past. With a perfect record against Shmuel and Ashkelon, Ironi needs just one win to clinch a spot. Givat Shmuel The white-and-blue league club is decidedly the longest shot of the three to make the postseason. Givat Shmuel would be eliminated automatically with a Ramat Gan. Even if Ironi loses both of its remaining games, coach Oren Aharoni will still need to see his team win both of its final games against Galil/Gilboa and Jerusalem. That scenario is quite unlikely, as the last time it played Hapoel, Givat Shmuel lost by 15 points. It is also suffering from a six-game losing streak, with its last win coming on February 22 over Rishon Lezion. With the odds not in its favor, Aharoni hopes something drastic (and somewhat miraculous) will happen to change the team's luck between now and its next game on April 12. Ashkelon On paper, Ashkelon is in the worst shape of the three teams, but the new additions of CJ Bruton and Tyrone Grant has drastically improved its chances of making the playoffs. Ramat Gan's play in the last two games is ultimately the deciding factor in Ashkelon's chances, but a loss this week by Uzi's team would certainly be a huge first-step for the team from the South to back its way into the dance. Similar to Givat Shmuel, Ashkelon also has to face a pair of teams it lost to earlier this season, but it has shown too much talent to be counted out. After signing Bruton and Grant, the team won two straight games, against HaSharon and Ramat Gan. Last week, it came within striking distance of beating the hot-shooting Maccabi Haifa Heat after point guard Doron Perkins returned from injury. A win this week would put serious pressure on Ramat Gan in the last week if it fails to wrap up the eighth spot on Sunday. But Eldan knows that for now, all it can do is worry about itself and hope the rest of the chips fall in its favor.


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