(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem came back from 14 points down to defeat a strong Hapoel Afula/Gilboa 92-84 in the teams' BSL opener at Malha Arena in Jerusalem on Monday night.
Jamie Arnold scored 29 points, including 15 in an inspirational opening quarter, to lead Hapoel and illustrate just how important he will be for coach Dan Shamir's team this season if it is to mount any sort of a title challenge to Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The match began at a frantic pace, with Arnold scoring for the home team in quick succession. But Coach Avner Yaor's Afula/Gilboa wasn't going to lie own easily and was down only two points at the end of the first quarter (27-25).
After Jerusalem built a ten-point lead by the middle of the second quarter (41-31), the visiting side came back again, with Gur Porat scoring freely and the half finished with the home team leading by only one point (45-44).
It was in the third quarter that the problems began for Jerusalem. Jermaine Hall scored nine points in the period for Afula/Gilboa and with ten minutes to go the visitors were 72-64 up.
It was nail biting stuff for the home fans, who created a frenzied atmosphere and Jerusalem only took the lead through Arnold with 4:23 left in the game (78-77). From there Hapoel Jerusalem didn't look back as Afula/Gilboa could not manage to come back again.