Hapoel Jerusalem 311.
(photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem took a significant step towards clinching the runner-up position at the end of the BSL regular season on Sunday night, defeating Bnei Hasharon 99-90 at Malha Arena for its fourth victory in its past five games.
Jerusalem built a double-digit lead at the start of the second half and remained in control until the end of the encounter, opening a one-game lead over Bnei Hasharon in the battle for second position behind Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Will Solomon led Hapoel with 25 points, with Sam Clancy scoring 20 and Yuval Naimi adding 12.
Jerusalem came up just short of scoring over 100 points for the fourth time in five games, but Hapoel coach Oded Katash was delighted with his team’s win just the same, especially with Brian Randle returning from a long injury lay-off to score five points in nine minutes on court.
Dan Grunfeld had 27 points for Bnei Hasharon, which will have to claim two more wins than Jerusalem in the final five games of the regular season to leapfrog into second place as Hapoel now also owns the tiebreaker between the teams.
There was little to separate the sides in the first period and Jerusalem had a onepoint edge (26-25) after 10 minutes.
A Solomon three completed an 11-2 Hapoel run, which opened the first significant lead of the game (39-30), but Bnei Hasharon came right back and the hosts needed a late Naimi triple to take a four-point margin (49-45) into the break The hosts came flying out of the gate at the start of the second half, with Clancy’s sixth point of the quarter capping a 12-3 surge that gave Jerusalem a double-digit cushion (61-48).
Five straight points by Grunfeld brought the visitors within eight points (69-61), but Bnei Hasharon scored just two points in the final three minutes of the third frame and Jerusalem had little trouble converting its 14-point gap (77-63) with 10 minutes to play into a crucial victory.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil is also still in the hunt for the runnersup position, beating Ironi Ashkelon 89-65 on the road for its fourth win in five games.
Gal Mekel led five Gilboa players in double-figures with 15 points, while Rashon Turner scored 13 points for Ashkelon, which lost for the 11th time in 13 games.
Gilboa, which will not be in action next week as its game against
Maccabi Tel Aviv was postponed by three weeks due to the
yellow-and-blue’s Euroleague quarterfinal series against Caja Laboral
Vitoria, will visit Jerusalem in its next league encounter in two weeks
time before hosting Bnei Hasharon.
Barak Netanya edged ever closer to securing another season of top-flight
basketball on Sunday, beating last-placed Maccabi Haifa 84-80.
Romeo Travis had 27 points and 15 rebounds for Netanya, which opened a
three-game lead over the bottom two and the relegation zone, with
Jermaine Jackson scoring 17 points for Haifa, which returned to its
losing ways after winning for the first time in five games last week.