Hap J’lem goes up 2-0; Holon, Gilboa tied 1-1

Jerusalem hosts Game 3 at Malha Arena next Wednesday, looking to complete a 3-0 sweep of Ashdod.

May 6, 2011 06:39
1 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

It was far from pretty, but Hapoel Jerusalem won’t care one bit.

A Jason Rich basket with 2.4 seconds to go gave Jerusalem a 69-68 victory at Maccabi Ashdod on Thursday night, opening a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five quarterfinal series.

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Despite hitting just 20-of-45 two-point shots, a mere six of 18 three-point attempts and only 11-of-18 free-throws, while also committing 15 turnovers, Hapoel managed to snatch a victory in Ashdod thanks to Rich, who scored 29 points, shooting 12 of 17 from the field.

“I knew this was going to be tough,” Rich said. “The coaches stuck with me and I hit my shots.”

Jerusalem hosts Game 3 at Malha Arena next Wednesday, looking to complete a 3-0 sweep of Ashdod.

On Thursday, both teams struggled to find their range and a disappointing first half ended in a 34-33 Ashdod lead.

The hosts scored the first six points after the break to open their biggest margin of the night (40-33), but Jerusalem tied the score by the end of the third period (54-54) and the game would be decided in the final minute.

Meir Tapiro scored four straight points to give Ashdod a 68-67 lead with 30.6 seconds remaining, but Rich grabbed an offensive rebound after a Yuval Naimi miss at the other end and clinched the win with a clutch basket.

Yogev Ohayon was Hapoel’s only other player in double-figures, scoring 10 points, with Josh Carter leading Ashdod with 21 points.

Jerusalem’s Will Solomon was left on the bench for the full 40 minutes following this week’s Twitter scandal.

Also Thursday, Hapoel Holon snapped Hapoel Gilboa/Galil’s five-game winning streak with a 67-66 victory, tying the quarterfinal series at 1-1.

Rich Melzer had 22 points for Holon, with Warren Carter scoring 16 for Gilboa, which hosts Game 3 next Thursday.

Ironi Ashkelon evened up the relegation playoff series against Maccabi Haifa at 1-1 on Thursday, winning 62-57 at home.

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