Netanya comes back to stun Hapoel Jerusalem at Malha

Hapoel was coming off a tough loss to Valencia in the Eurocup last week, and could have used some positive momentum heading into its Tuesday night matchup at Galatasary.

By JACOB LEVENFELD
March 7, 2010 06:53
2 minute read.
hapoel jerusalem zadar

hapoel jerusalem zadar. (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem Web site)

 
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Barak Netanya came from behind to claim a 74-72 victory over Hapoel Jerusalem in stunning fashion at Malha Arena on Saturday night .

A Shmulik Brener layup, set up by Danilo Pinnock, put Netanya in front by two with 5.9 seconds remaining, and Yuval Naimi’s three-point bid for the win fell short at the buzzer.

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Despite maintaining a lead from midway through the second quarter until late in the fourth, Hapoel (11-5) was unable to finish off Netanya, which hung around long enough to shock Guy Goodes’s team.

Hapoel was coming off a tough loss to Valencia in the Eurocup last week, and could have used some positive momentum heading into its Tuesday night matchup at Galatasary.

The hosts went cold from the field after halftime. After scoring 28 points in the second quarter alone, Jerusalem could only manage 28 in the entire second half, and just 12 in the final frame.

Pinnock was the story of the game for Netanya, finishing with 27 points to lead all scorers and sparking his team’s fourth-quarter comeback. He shot 11-19 from the field in the contest, including 4-8 from behind the arc.

After the game, Pinnock was asked to summarize the evening.



“A dogfight,” he said. “Jerusalem is a great team. I think when we play against good teams, we rise to the occasion... these are games that you circle on your calendars every year.”

Netanya’s zone defense forced Hapoel to rely heavily on three-point shooting, and the team shot just 27 percent from downtown.

Naimi led Jerusalem in scoring with 15 points, but missed a key runner from the lane with 29 seconds to go.

“We wanted to stay close to Jerusalem in the fourth quarter, to be in the game and not allow them to pull away,” Netanya coach Arik Alfasi said. “We came very ready tonight.”

Although Netanya jumped out to a 21-16 lead after one quarter of play, Hapoel responded in the second stanza and tied the action at 32 when Naimi hit a mid-range jumper with 4:10 to go in the half.

Pooh Jeter’s three-pointer on Hapoel’s next possession put his team ahead 35-32, and Jerusalem was able to hold its lead and push it to as much as 12 early in the third, until Marco Killingsworth converted from the lane with just over two minutes remaining in regulation.

The game was knotted at 72 with 1:25 to go after a Dijon Thompson dunk and a Killingsworth free throw. The teams traded misses before Brener’s game-winner.

“We really believe in one another, and that’s the key,” Brener said. “We need challenges like this.”

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