Hapoel Jerusalem guard Yotam Halperin had 11 points in last night’s 88-58 win over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil at the Jerusalem Arena..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Jerusalem built on its recent excellent form with a hard-fought 82-78 win at Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night, registering its 10th victory in the past 11 games to effectively secure the No. 2 seed in the BSL playoffs.
A tight game at the Drive-In Arena in Tel Aviv was only decided in the final minute, with Jerusalem’s defense locking down the hosts and clinching the win by hitting six-of-seven free-throw attempts.
Durand Scott could have tied the game for Tel Aviv with 12 seconds to play, but he missed an open three-pointer and Jerusalem held on.
Jerusalem improved to 20-7, three games behind leader Maccabi Tel Aviv and five games ahead of Maccabi Rishon Lezion in third place.
With each team still having at least six games to play before the end of the regular season, Jerusalem can theoretically still leapfrog the yellow-and-blue.
However, realistically it will know it is unlikely to catch Maccabi and will be focused on extending its current run ahead of the start of the playoffs.
Tywain McKee led Jerusalem with 20 points and eight rebounds, with Tony Gaffney adding 18 points and seven boards.
Yancy Gates had 26 points and six boards for Tel Aviv, which fell to 14-13, one game behind third place and only 1.5 games ahead of eighth.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Eilat recorded two consecutive wins for the first time in more than two months, beating Hapoel Holon 88-86 on the road to boost its playoff hopes.
Eilat improved to 13-14 after getting the better of a dramatic finish in Holon. The hosts had possession and a one-point lead with time winding down, but a Jordan Taylor turnover handed Eilat a lifeline and Khalif Wyatt’s two accurate free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining moved the visitors in front.
Taylor had a chance to redeem himself at the other end, but he was blocked by Brian Asbury and Eilat secured the win from the line.
Asbury had 26 points and six rebounds for Eilat as well as the crucial defensive play, with Wyatt finishing with 25 points.
“We knew that in our situation we had to win one big game and this was a big game for us,” said Eilat coach Arik Shivek.
Isaac Rosefelt led Holon with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but couldn’t help his team avoid its third straight defeat and sixth from the past eight games.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa (12-14) visits Bnei Herzliya (11- 15), Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (7-19) welcomes Ironi Nahariya (10- 10) and Ironi Ness Ziona (13-13) faces Maccabi Ashdod (7-19).