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Hapoel Jerusalem moved within one game of Maccabi Tel Aviv for the BSL lead with an 89-81 win over Hapoel Galil Elyon-Golan on Monday at Kfar Blum in the final game of Matchday 21.
Power forward Ido Kozikaro led Jerusalem with a season-high 21 points on perfect shooting against his boyhood club.
Jerusalem improved to 15-3 and will have a chance to move into first if it can beat Maccabi in a postponed game from Matchday 19 at Nokia Arena on April 20.
Galil, which fell to 9-10, lost for the first time since head coach Oded Katash returned to the sidelines in early March, ending a four-game winning streak.
Galil stayed close for the first quarter-and-a-half, but Roger Mason Jr. helped the visitors take a 40-33 halftime lead. Mason added a trifecta to start the second half and Kozikaro's second three-point play of the period gave Jerusalem an 18-point lead.
The big man gave Jerusalem its biggest lead, 74-55, early in the fourth. Galil stormed back with eight straight points - the last four coming from Lior Eliyahu - and soon closed the gap to nine, but Jerusalem always came up with a big basket to remain in control until the last minute.
Mason and Mario Austin added 18 points each and Tamar Slay 12 for the capital city hoopsters. Horace Jenkins had a fine all-around game with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Meir Tapiro dished out eight assists.
Eliyahu had 19 to lead Galil, followed by Yordan Bozoa and Sasa Bratic with 14 each.
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