Oded Katash 311.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem opened the BSL playoffs in convincing fashion on Thursday
night, thrashing Maccabi Ashdod 90-66 at Malha Arena to take a 1-0 lead in the
best-of-five quarterfinal series.
Jerusalem had lost in two of its three
previous meetings with Ashdod this season, including an 86-78 defeat at Malha
just two weeks ago.
However, Oded Katash’s team looked to be far more
composed for the start of the playoffs, and after an erratic first half,
outscored Ashdod 27-9 in the third period on its way to an easy win.
enjoyed three of the four quarters when we stuck to our game plan and played
good defense,” Katash said. “We didn’t play well enough in the second period and
our lack of concentration combined with a good game by Ashdod got them back into
the contest. This is only the first game of the series and I have no doubt that
we will face some tough encounters.”
Dion Dowell had 16 points for
Jerusalem, with Oliver Lafayette scoring 18 for Ashdod, which hosts Game 2 next
A 12-0 run capped by a Dowell three-pointer gave Jerusalem an
18-10 advantage and the hosts were in control after 10 minutes, leading
However, Hapoel completely lost its way in the second quarter and
a Lorenzo Gordon basket completed a 14-2 Ashdod run, giving the visitors a 35-33
There was nothing to separate the teams at the break (39-39), but
Jerusalem once more found its range in the third period and Ashdod was
Hapoel was hitting its shots from beyond the arc, and the hosts
all but clinched the win with 10 minutes remaining, leading 66-48.
Thursday, Bnei Hasharon took a 1-0 lead in its series against Maccabi Rishon
Lezion, claiming a 91-82 victory in Herzliya.
Rishon got off to a bright
start and opened an early eight-point lead (13-5), but the hosts replied with an
8-0 run to tie the score and outscored Effi Birenboim’s men 24-11 in the second
period to take a stranglehold on the game (49-32).
Filiberto Rivera led
six Bnei Hasharon players in double-figures with 20 points, with Aaron McGhee
scoring 20 points for Rishon, which will be desperate to win Game 2 at home next
Also Thursday, Maccabi Haifa took a 1-0 lead in the relegation
playoffs, beating Ironi Ashkelon 74-67 at Nesher.
After three tight
quarters the score was tied at 48-48, but a 12-1 run to start the final frame
gave Haifa a double-digit margin it wouldn’t relinquish on its way to an
Frank Robinson led Haifa with 15 points and 13
rebounds, with Gur Porat having 18 points and 10 rebounds for Ashkelon, which
ended the regular season with 12 defeats in 14 games and continued to struggle
On Saturday, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Barak Netanya, looking
to take a 2-0 lead in its series in what will be its final game before next
Friday’s Euroleague Final Four semifinal against Real Madrid.