(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv joined Hapoel Jerusalem in the BSL Final Four on Thursday,
beating Barak Netanya 92- 78 at Nokia Arena to complete a 3-0 series
It took Maccabi a full half to find its rhythm and forget about
the disappointment of losing in the Euroleague final to Panathinaikos on Sunday,
but its 15-2 run at the start of the third quarter was more than enough to break
Netanya’s resistance and book a place in the season-ending
Lior Eliyahu rebounded from a poor continental Final Four
with 22 points and six assists, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis adding 15 points and
Jeremy Pargo scoring 14.
Adrian Banks had 20 points for Netanya, which
never really believed it had a chance of winning even one game against
Tel Aviv will now face the winner of the series between Maccabi
Rishon Lezion and Bnei Hasharon in the Final Four semis on May 24, with Rishon
holding a 2-1 lead after winning 82-75 on the road on Thursday.
Hasharon held a 23-20 edge after 10 minutes and scored the first six points of
the second period to open a nine-point margin after a Shawn James
The hosts still had an eight-point cushion (42-34) at halftime
and looked to be in control when James opened a double-digit lead (48-38) at the
start of the third quarter.
However, a 17-4 Rishon run turned the game on
its head and the visitors took a 59-55 lead into the final 10
Bnei Hasharon closed to within two points (67-65) midway through
the final frame, but never came closer and Rishon held on for a crucial
Raymar Morgan had 22 points for the winners, with Yehu Orland
scoring 14 for Rishon, which will be looking to close out the series at home on
“We defended poorly in the first half, but we played playoff
defense after the break and that was the key,” Rishon coach Effi Birenboim
“We have a lot of winners on court, but sometimes that causes a
problem because each of them thinks he should have the ball. If we continue to
play good defense in Game 4, we will be in the Final Four.”
James had 22
points and nine rebounds for Bnei Hasharon, which has to win on Sunday to have
any hope of reaching a first Final Four since 2008.
Gilboa/Galil took a 2- 1 advantage over Hapoel Holon on Thursday with an 89-73
home victory, moving within one win of booking a Final Four meeting with
Jerusalem, which completed a 3-0 sweep of Maccabi Ashdod on
After seeing its five-game winning streak snapped in Game 2 in
Holon, the regular season runner-up surged into an early lead on Thursday,
opening a 25-17 margin after 10 minutes.
The gap mushroomed to 16 points
(44-28) by the interval and the second half was mostly garbage time, with both
teams already looking ahead to Sunday’s Game 4 in Holon.
scored 24 points, including six of seven from threepoint range, with Marco
Killingsworth adding 16 points and Gal Mekel coming two rebounds short of a rare
triple-double, contributing 11 points, 10 assists and eight
Rich Melzer had 24 points and eight rebounds for
In the relegation playoffs, Maccabi Haifa closed within one
victory of securing BSL survival, thrashing Ironi Ashkelon 91-72 in
Haifa led by as many as 22 points in the second period, but it
was Ashkelon which had a one-point edge (60-59) with 10 minutes to
However, Haifa would outscore the visitors 32-12 in the fourth
quarter for an important win to take a 2-1 series lead on its way to another
season of top-flight basketball.
Sylven Landesberg scored 25 points for
Haifa, with Rodney Green netting 28 for the losers, who host Game 4 on Sunday.