Maccabi Ashdod guard Sek Henry.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN /BSL)
Maccabi Ashdod continued its sensational form with a fifth straight BSL win on Monday night, beating Hapoel Jerusalem 74-65 to hand the reigning champion its second straight loss.
After losing seven of its first 10 games, Ashdod moved over .500 for the first time this season, improving to an 8-7 record with its seventh consecutive victory over all competitions after also advancing to the State Cup semifinals.
Jerusalem controlled the first two-and-a-half quarters, leading by 13 points in the third quarter.
But Hapoel lost its way after that, with Ashdod going on a 28-7 surge to seize control.
Sek Henry led Ashdod with 22 points, with Gerald Lee finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Nimrod Levy registering a double-double of 12 points and 11 boards.
Jerome Dyson had 21 points for Jerusalem, which fell to 10-5.
Hapoel squandered a 19-point third-quarter lead against Hapoel Tel Aviv last weekend.
“Jerusalem is one of the top teams in the league and this was the biggest win we’ve had in this stretch,” said Ashdod coach Brad Greenberg. “Seven in a row is quite an accomplishment for this group, but we want to do more.
Our defense in the second half was pretty extraordinary and that is why we won the game.”
Jerusalem got off to a flying start, with Dyson’s three-pointer opening an early 14-2 lead. Ashdod closed to within two points in the second quarter (26-24), but Dyson’s triple reestablished a double-digit cushion at the break (39-29).
Hapoel still seemed to be in total control when Lior Eliyahu’s basket made it a 13-point game (47-34). But Ashdod ended the quarter with a 19-4 run to take a two-point edge (53-51) into the final 10 minutes and Jerusalem never recovered.
Hapoel scored only three points in the first five minutes of the final frame and Ashdod secured a memorable win.
Earlier Monday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion (7-8) returned to winning ways with an 84-69 win over Ironi Ness Ziona (5-10). Rishon entered the contest on the back of two straight defeats and three losses over its previous four games.
The hosts were never in any danger of losing on Monday, opening a double-digit gap in the first quarter (23-13) and cruising in the remaining three periods.
Drew Crawford and Jason Siggers scored 17 points each for Rishon, with Murphy Holloway adding 14 points and 17 boards.
Jaron Johnson netted 23 points for Ness Ziona, which had its first winning streak of the season snapped at two victories.