Hapoel Jerusalem forward Donta Smith had 15 points in last night’s 100-80 blowout victory over Bnei Herzliya at the Jerusalem Arena. (Hapoel Jerusalem website).
(photo credit: HAPOEL JERUSALEM WEBSITE)
Hapoel Jerusalem played like the BSL champion once more on Monday night, beating Bnei Herzliya 100-80 at the Jerusalem Arena to improve to 16-6 and regain sole possession of first place in the standings.
Hapoel moved one game clear of Maccabi Tel Aviv, which lost to Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday, after outscoring Herzliya 55-35 in the second half.
Jerusalem was surprisingly outplayed by Maccabi Kiryat Gat last week, losing for the seventh time in nine games over all competitions. It bounced back in style on Monday, with Yotam Halperin leading five players in double figures with 21 points, five assists and five rebounds.
“It isn’t easy to play in our current situation,” said an emotional Halperin. “We are under a lot of pressure but the second half was one of our best halves of the season and we need to build on this.”
Drew Crawford had 19 points for Herzliya, which fell to 12-10.
Earlier Monday, Hapoel Eilat calmed its nerves by moving three games clear of last place with an 85-76 win over Ironi Ness Ziona. Eilat had lost three of its previous four games, but improved to 10-12, three games ahead of both Ness Ziona and Kiryat Gat, giving the southerners some breathing space in the battle against relegation.
Khalif Wyatt was sensational for the visitors, scoring 33 points, including nine three-pointers from 12 attempts. Sundiata Gaines finished with 18 points for Ness Ziona, which lost for the fifth time in six games.
Elsewhere, Maccabi Tel Aviv is set to complete the signing of forward Richard Hendrix in the coming days, bringing back the American forward who played for the team between 2010 and 2012.
The 29-year-old Hendrix has come to an agreement to leave Spanish club Malaga at which he averaged 9.0 points and 6.2 rebounds this season.
Hendrix will sign a deal at least until the end of the 2016/17 season, and his first mission will be to help the yellow-and-blue steady the ship after Sunday’s humbling 84-68 defeat to arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv at Yad Eliyahu Arena.
Maccabi was outplayed by the struggling reds and dropped to 15-7 in the BSL.