Hapoel Jlem Basketball.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Ironi Ashkelon overcame a costly turnover and a late rally to stop Hapoel Jerusalem 98-97 at the Malha Arena in Jerusalem on Saturday night.
Looking to overcome a 53-point loss to Unics Kazan in Russia in the ULEB Cup on Tuesday, Hapoel fell for the first time this season at Malha Arena, despite Sharon Sasson's 35-point performance.
Asked where the team will go from here, Hapoel coach Dan Shamir responded that although the upcoming days are not easy, the team will look inside themselves for answers.
"Changes do not come overnight. We will go out next time and make a few good plays, and turn those plays into a good quarter and keep building on that success until it leads to a win," Shamir said.
The team will be without guard Anthony Roberson who was absent from the game after being released from the team earlier in the evening.
After giving up nine unanswered points to open the game, Hapoel continued to look sluggish throughout the first three quarters. However, trailing 72-60 at the end of the third quarter, the home team came alive in the final quarter on the back of strong play by Erez Markovich and Timmy Bowers, outscoring their opponents 37-26. Ultimately it was not enough, as Ashkelon's incredible display of three-point shooting in the final quarter proved to be too much for the home team.
In the end, Hapoel committed too many fouls and turnovers to squeak out a win. In addition to committing 24 fouls which led to 26 converted free throws for Ashkelon, Hapoel turned the ball over 12 times, most of which led to fast break points for the visitors.
Steve Bart led his team to victory with 18 of his 27 points coming in the second half, including a number of clutch three-pointers when Hapoel appeared to be closing the deficit. Yuval Naimi and Corey Carr each contributed 17 points for the visitors, who shot 51 percent from the field, 52 percent from the three point line and hit 26 of the 28 free throws they attempted.
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