Hapoel gets back to .500 by rolling Gilboa

J’lem snags 94-86 home victory; Ashkelon pulls out upset of Haifa; Holon dumps Ashdod.

November 8, 2010 07:41
3 minute read.
Hapoel Jerusalem guard Will Solomon.

Hapoel Jerusalem 311. (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)

Hapoel Jerusalem took a big step towards leaving its subpar start to the season behind on Sunday night, defeating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 94-86 at Malha Arena.

The hosts played without the burden of the distraction that plagued them throughout the week, as point guard Yuval Naimi released a statement earlier Sunday apologizing to the club.

Rumors of Naimi’s departure swirled ever since his father Kobi voiced his displeasure with how Hapoel was handling the point guard last month. The club proceeded to take back electronic appliances it had given the point guard, and a divorce seemed all but imminent after last week’s 20-point loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv.

But with Naimi’s apology, the soap opera appears to be in everyone’s rear view mirror.

Naimi finished with 15 points and five assists, while being named game MVP.

Jason Rich led Hapoel with 20 points.

Rodney Green scored 23 to lead Gilboa, who now sit at 2-2 along with Jerusalem.

Hapoel Jerusalem 94, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 86 Jerusalem’s inside-outside balance staked the hosts to a 12-0 run in the middle of the first, capped by Will Solomon pickpocketing Green at midcourt and soaring in for a dunk, and Hapoel led 19-7 six minutes in.

Hapoel’s offense cooled off, but Gilboa/Galil couldn’t capitalize and trailed 21-13 after the first quarter.

Naimi took over in the second, splitting the defense for a graceful layup, and following that with a drive and dish to Sam Clancy for a three-point play, giving the hosts a 28-15 lead midway through the second.

The visitors were already running out of gas when Jerusalem’s Jason Rich stole two passes and turned them into five points in the final 20 seconds of the half, giving Oded Katash’s men an overwhelming 54- 32 lead at the midway point.

Jerusalem was sloppy to open the second half, and back-to-back threes by Green and Jack McClinton and a Gal Mekel layup pulled Gilboa/Galil to 57-42.

But Will Solomon ended that run with a corner three, and though Gilboa hung around, Jerusalem was still in control 72-60 at the end of the third.

The hosts coasted for most of the fourth and only let up at the end, as Gilboa scored the game’s last seven points to turn a rout into a respectable loss.

Ironi Ashkelon 88, Maccabi Haifa 86 After opening the game with a 10-2 run, Haifa was comfortably leading 47- 36 with halftime approaching. But a miracle three-pointer from Ashkelon’s Dudu Shamriz gave the visitors a rallying cry heading into the locker room down eight.

That cry paid dividends, as Ariel Bet Halahmi’s men opened the third on a 22-8 run, but trailed 67-66 with 10 minutes to go.

A dramatically tight fourth quarter saw the visitors up 86-83 with eight seconds remaining when Haifa’s Marco Killingsworth missed a free throw. The ball was tipped out to Silvan Landsberg, who nailed a cold-blooded corner three to tie the game, sending the Nesher crowd into a frenzy.

But Ashkelon’s Desmon Farmer had other plans. With his team looking for its first win, the Southern California grad charged into the lane and forced up an off-balance floater that swished through the net at the buzzer.

Rahshon Turner led Ashkelon with 17 points and five rebounds, while Killingsworth tallied 22 and 9.

Hapoel Holon 77, Maccabi Ashdod 69 The visitors opened strong in Ashdod, leading 14-3 six minutes in and 19-14 after the first.

An evenly-played second quarter gave the visitors a 39-34 lead at halftime, but Ashkelon pulled ahead in the third period thanks to Ramel Bradley (21 points) and led 54-53 heading into the fourth.

Bu the inside presence of Jamie Arnold (21 points, 15 rebounds) was too much for the hosts to handle, and a 9-0 Holon run to open the fourth allowed the visitors to coast to their first win.

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