Dwayne Mitchell (dunking the ball).
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem continued to build momentum ahead of the BSL playoffs on Sunday
night, claiming its fifth league win in six games with an 87-75 victory at
Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Jerusalem seized control of the game by outscoring
Rishon 28-15 in the second period and had little trouble wrapping up the victory
in the second half.
“I feel that we are improving with every week and I
think that we are heading in the right direction,” Jerusalem coach Oded Katash
said. “I was very pleased with our defense tonight. We could have played better
offensively, but this was a tough road game and we did our job.”
Rich had 17 points for Jerusalem, with Yuval Naimi scoring 12 and Brian Randle
adding 12 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes in his second game back from
Dwayne Mitchell had 27 and nine rebounds for Rishon, which has
lost four straight games.
A tight first period ended in a 15-14 Rishon
lead, but Jerusalem found its range in the second quarter and the hosts were
A 20-1 run gave the visitors a 15-point cushion (40-25) and
Hapoel led 42-30 at the break.
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Jerusalem increased its margin to 17
(56-39) by the midway point of the third frame, but Rishon came back with a 7- 0
run to close within 10 points.
However, Hapoel extended its gap to 65-50
by the end of the third quarter and cruised through the final 10 minutes on the
way to another league win.
Meanwhile, Bnei Hasharon remained just one
game back of Jerusalem after recording an 82-73 home victory over Hapoel Holon
Dan Shamir’s men held a slender margin after 10 minutes
(18-14) and all but clinched the win by outscoring Holon 29-16 in the second
period on the way to a 47-30 halftime lead.
“It was very important to win
today after last week’s loss to Jerusalem,” said Bnei Hasharon coach Dan Shamir,
whose team had won four straight games before losing to Maccabi Tel Aviv and
“We played hard from the first moment and I’m pleased with
Dan Grunfeld and Ron Steele had 16 points each for Bnei Hasharon,
with Shawn James putting up another impressive performance under the baskets,
scoring 12 points, hauling down 17 rebounds and blocking five shots.
Melzer had 22 points for Holon, which has now lost three straight games after an
inspiring run of four wins in five contests.
Maccabi Haifa climbed off
the bottom of the standings on Sunday night, beating Ironi Ashkelon 74-72 thanks
to Jermaine Jackson’s buzzer-beater.
Haifa had occupied the basement of
the BSL table for the last few months after winning just two of 16 games. But it
has now claimed two of its past three encounters and with still four more games
to go until the end of the regular season, has still got an outside chance to
sneak into the playoffs.
Haifa built a 42-32 margin by the break, but
with 10 minutes to play was ahead by just a single point (59-58).
hosts seemed to be in control when they led 72-66 with two minutes to go, but a
Dror Hagag layup tied the score for Ashkelon with 18 seconds remaining, only for
Jackson to clinch the win for Haifa in dramatic fashion.
led five Haifa players in double-figures with 12 points, with Rashon Turner
scoring 21 points and taking 11 rebounds for Ashkelon, which has lost nine of 10
games and replaces Haifa in last position.
Barak Netanya, which is one
point ahead of Haifa, visits Maccabi Ashdod on Monday.
The game between
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and Maccabi Tel Aviv was postponed to April 17 to allow the
yellow-and-blue to prepare for Game 3 of its Euroleague quarterfinal playoff
series against Caja Laboral Vitoria on Tuesday.
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