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11.23.2014 | 1 Kislev, 5775
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ALLON SINAI \
Mac TA, Gilboa set at 1-2 as playoff picture shapes up
MACCABI TEL AVIV’S Yogev Ohayon 370.
(photo credit:Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil booked the No. 2 seed in the BSL playoffs on Sunday night
thanks to a 74-67 victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion in Gan Ner.With
Maccabi Ashdod already guaranteed to finish in seventh place, the first of the
four best-of-five playoff series is set after Gilboa clinched the win against
Rishon courtesy of a late run.A tight first half ended in a 34-34
stalemate, and although the visitors led for most of the third quarter, it was
Gilboa which had the edge (49-47) with 10 minutes to play after Courtney Fells
capped an 8-0 run to end the period with a three-pointer.There was still
nothing to separate the teams (57-57) midway through the final frame, but a
Dagan Yavzuri triple completed a 10-1 Gilboa surge from which Rishon could not
come back.“This was a really tough game,” said Gilboa coach Lior Lubin,
who is hoping to guide his team to the Final Four for a second straight season.
“We slightly loosened up in the closing stages and began to make the correct
decisions.”Romeo Travis led Gilboa with 18 points, while Fells, Joseph
Jones and new signing William Hatcher scored 14 points each.Brandon
Bowman and Joe Crawford had 20 points each for Rishon, which has yet to secure
the No. 3 seed.A Hapoel Jerusalem victory over Ironi Ashkelon on Monday
as well as another against Maccabi Tel Aviv next Sunday combined with a Rishon
loss to Ashkelon next week will see Effi Birenboim’s men drop to
fourth.Jerusalem can already clinch at least fourth place at the end of
the regular season and home-court advantage in the playoffs with a win on Monday
after Maccabi Tel Aviv improved to 21-2 with an 80- 70 victory over Hapoel Holon
at Nokia Arena on Sunday.Maccabi outscored Holon 27-7 in the first
quarter, rendering the final three periods meaningless.Lior Eliyahu had
19 points for Maccabi, with Keith Langford adding 18 for the yellowand- blue,
which began the game with a 15-0 run.Bryant Dunston scored 15 for Holon,
which looks set to end the season in fifth and face Jerusalem in the playoffs
without home-court advantage.The fight for the eighth and final playoff
berth turned into a two-horse race on Sunday after BC Habika’a thrashed Ashdod
87-70.Bnei Hasharon needed an Ashdod win to stay alive in the battle for
the questionable honor of facing Maccabi in the playoffs, but a 14-2
fourth-quarter run by Habika’a gave it the precious win on Sunday.Troy
Gillenwater led five Habika’a players in double-figures with 18 points, while
Josh Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Ashdod, which is already preparing
for its matchup against Gilboa in the playoffs.Sunday’s win means that
the identity of the eighth seed will be decided on Thursday, with the winner of
the showdown between Habika’a and Barak Netanya to come up against Maccabi in
the playoffs.Also Monday, Bnei Hasharon hosts Maccabi Haifa in a game
between two teams playing only for pride.
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