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Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan broke open a close contest in the final five minutes to defeat northern rival Ironi Nahariya 81-71 in a BSL game Monday night at Kfar Blum.
The victory boosted Galil's record to 4-2 and moved them up to fourth place in the league standings.
Galil's fourth quarter surge was triggered by Jason Straight's nine points. The point guard scored 16 points overall, most of them coming at crucial junctures in the game. "I had some turnovers in the first half", he said after the game, "but when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter, I decided to become more aggressive."
The opening quarter between the rivals was evenly matched until the hosts took advantage of Nahariya turnovers and took a 20-14 lead. There were six lead changes in the first ten minutes as the advantage appeared to alternate with each bucket.
The second quarter was almost a carbon copy of the first. A driving layup by Straight gave his squad a narrow 36-34 halftime advantage.
The first half was a battle of big men. Nahariya center Otis Hill dominated with 15 points while Galil's Uche Nsonwu countered with 12 points.
The game remained close until Straight hit a three pointer with 5:38 remaining. The bucket put Galil ahead 66-57, it's biggest lead up to that point.
"Our defense faltered in the final quarter due to fatigue and a shorter rotation with Jayson Wells sitting out due to league suspension," said Nahariya assistant coach Roi Schilling.
Nsonwu was strong under the boards with 20 points and his 13 rebounds helped Galil outrebound Nahariya 40-28.
Maccabi Tel Aviv to face Maccabi Rishonin State Cup quarters
Reigning State Cup champion Maccabi Tel Aviv's next hurdle on its way to another title is Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
The draw for the quarterfinals of the State Cup, which was held earlier this week, also pitted Maccabi Petah Tikva against Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan, Ironi Ramat Gan against Bnei Hasharon, and Hapoel Jerusalem against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The two-legged ties will be played on December 29 and January 15.
In each tie, the aggregate score from both legs determines which teams advance to the semifinals.
Hapoel Jerusalem set
for Frankfurt Skyliners
Hapoel Jerusalem continues its ULEB Cup campaign Tuesday night when it visits Frankfurt Skyliners.
At 4-2, Hapoel is in second place in Group D, two games behind undefeated group leader Dynamo Moscow, which has already clinched a spot in the next stage.
The winless Skyliners are in last place.
The top four teams of the six-team group advance to the elimination rounds.
Jerusalem Post sports staff contributed to this report.
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