(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Scotty Hopson’s three-pointer at the buzzer completed a dramatic comeback and gave Ironi Nahariya an 86-85 win over Hapoel Jerusalem in a roller- coaster Game 1 in the BSL quarterfinals at the Jerusalem Arena on Tuesday night.
Hapoel led by as many as 23 points in the first quarter, only for Nahariya to close within eight points by the break before taking the lead for the first time in the third period.
A tight fourth frame ensued and Jerusalem seemed to be heading to the win when Tarence Kinsey’s jumper opened a three-point gap with 10 seconds to play.
But Kinsey would only hit one of two free-throw attempts with 7.6 seconds remaining and Hopson scored a desperation three as time expired to secure a sweet victory for Nahariya.
Derwin Kitchen led five Nahariya players in double figures with 19 points, with Hopson finishing with 13.
Kinsey scored 23 points with Curtis Jerrells adding 21 for Jerusalem.
Game 2 is in Nahariya next Monday.
Jerusalem picked up where it left off in the regular season after winning six of its final seven games, scoring the first 12 points of the night before storming to a 20-point lead. It took the hosts just over five minutes to open a 23-3 margin, with the run capped by a Kinsey three-pointer.
Hapoel hit 7-of-10 two-point attempts and 3-of-4 threes during its blistering start, while Nahariya connected on only one of seven shots.
Jerusalem’s gap reached 23 points (30-7) at one stage and the hosts were still ahead by 20 points (46-26) midway through the second frame.
But the visitors never lost hope, going in a 15-3 run to end the first half and close to within eight points (49-41), with 11 of Nahariya’s points coming courtesy of Derwin Kitchen.
Nahariya continued its run at the start of the second half, with another Kitchen triple cutting the gap to a single point (49-48).
Jerusalem replied with seven straight points, but Nahariya didn’t waver. Nick Faust’s basket with 37 seconds remaining in the quarter gave the visitors their first lead of the night (61-60) and there was nothing to separate the teams (61-61) entering the final 10 minutes.
Kitchen remained on fire in the fourth period and his two threes helped Nahariya open a six-point advantage (72-66). The back-and-forth contest continued with Jerusalem scoring the next eight points, with a Jerrells three-point play giving the hosts the lead once more (74-72) with 4:27 minutes to play. The lead continued to exchange hands in the subsequent minutes, A Kinsey jumper to beat the shot clock with 10.4 seconds to play opened a three-point advantage and Jerusalem seemed to be in the driving seat. But Nahariya would not be denied, with Hopson’s three completely changing the complexity of the series.
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