Hapoel Jerusalem staves off Ness Ziona

Prather’s 41-point performance leads Eilat past Hapoel Tel Aviv • Hapoel wins Haifa derby

HAPOEL BEERSHEBA and Bnei Herzliya engaged in a fierce Winner League battle on Monday night, with Amir Bell (right) and Beersheba prevailing 77-75.  (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
HAPOEL BEERSHEBA and Bnei Herzliya engaged in a fierce Winner League battle on Monday night, with Amir Bell (right) and Beersheba prevailing 77-75.
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Hapoel Jerusalem overcame a feisty Ness Ziona side 84-78 on Monday night to get back on the winning track and also clinch a playoff spot, as it ensured it will end the Israel Winner League regular season in the top half of the standings.
Suleiman Braimoh paced the Reds early on, but Braian Angola helped the Ness Ziona to an 18-0 third quarter run to take a slim one-point lead. However, Stanton Kidd and Ray McCallum scored crucial points from Jerusalem down the stretch to notch the win for Dainius Adomaitis’s squad.
Braimoh led all scorers with 25 points, Kidd added 15 points, Tamir Blatt chipped in with 13 points and eight assists, while McCallum scored 10 points in the win. Angola scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Wayne Selden added 19 points and Patrick Miller scored 17 points in the defeat.
“The first 20 minutes was one of the best 20 minutes since I’ve been here,” said Jerusalem coach Adomatis. “We cut the second chance points and defensively did a good job. But in the third quarter they showed how they can play. We had some turnovers and some rushed decisions, but I am happy that we won the game.”
Ness Ziona coach Brad Greenberg was happy with his team’s effort.
“We played a great third quarter and the game swung a little bit,” explained Greenberg. “But we had fatigue and sometimes when you work so hard to get back, you can’t sustain it. Stanton Kidd made a good shot and Su Braimoh played well and they hurt us.”
Kidd also reflected on the win and how the Hapoel roster is gelling together.
“I think the swag will come in due time but no matter how you win the game, grinding out the games will be crucial for us,” said Jerusalem’s 29-year-old forward. The guys are coming to play hard and I feel we hit our rough patch already.”
A tightly fought first quarter saw the Reds hold a 16-14 lead after 10 minutes of play.
Ness Ziona kept things close, trailing 24-21 midway through the second quarter before McCallum and Braimoh led a Jerusalem surge to allow Adomaitis’s team go into the break leading 47-34.
Angola’s masterful third quarter brought Greenberg’s team all the way back to take a 63-62 lead after 30 minutes and the score was tied at 69 apiece with 6:30 left in the final stanza.
But Hapoel found another gear, as Kidd, Thomas, McCallum, Blatt and Braimoh each contributed points late to propel Jerusalem to the road conquest.
Down south, Hapoel Eilat sunk Hapoel Tel Aviv 108-95 as Casey Prather went off for 41 points in the victory. After an evenly played first half ended 45-45, Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad took charge to take the 13-point win.
Along with his 41 points, Prather dished out seven assists, Markel Brown added 23 points and Josh Nebo checked in with 20 points in the big win. Justin Tillman was once again excellent with 27 points for Tel Aviv, Boston Celtics defeat pick Yam Madar scored 25 points and Bar Timor chipped in with 15 points in the loss.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Beersheba slipped by Bnei Herzliya 77-75 to move its record to 11-10 on the local campaign as it continues to move up the standings.
The Southern Reds jumped out to a 26-12 lead after 10 minutes on the strength of Caleb Agada’s play, but Coty Clarke helped Sharon Drucker’s Herzliya squad get back into the game to head into halftime all knotted up at 40-40.
However, strong games from Eric Thompson and Amir Bell gave Rami Hadar’s team the boost it needed down the stretch to notch the tight two-point victory.
Agada scored 21 points to lead Beersheba, Thompson notched 18 points and eight boards, while Bell chipped in with 12 points.
Clarke scored 17 points and added nine rebounds, Abdul Gaddy scored 12 points and Max Heidegger added 11 points for Herzliya in defeat.
Also, Hapoel Haifa painted the Carmel red as it squeaked by Maccabi Haifa 87-84 in a hotly contested Haifa derby.
The Greens held a 45-39 lead at halftime, but Elad Hasin’s squad came roaring back with a 26-11 third-quarter run and then held on for the win over the final frame.
Keenan Evans led Hapoel with 23 points, Karam Mashour scored 17 points, grabbed six boards and handed out 11 assists, Jason Siggers chipped in with 12 points and Rakeem Buckles scored 11 points in the win.
Kalin Lucas led Amit Ben David’s Maccabi team with 17 points, Michael Brisker added 15 points and Roman Sorkin notched 14 points in the loss.
Elsewhere, Hapoel Holon dunked all over Nahariya 84-67 as Stefanos Dedas’s squad continued its winning ways, this time in local Winner League action after notching victories in both the Champions League and Balkan League.
Maxim De Zeeuw scored 15 points and pulled down eight boards, CJ Harris and Oded Brandwein each scored 12 points, while Willy Workman chipped in with 10 points in the win.
Michael Young led Nahariya with 19 points while Marom Blossomgame added 13 points in the loss.
In Balkan League action, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil downed Skopje 105-71 in a game that was never close.
Jehyve Floyd led the way for Avishay Gordon’s squad with 19 points, Amit Gershon added 13 points while Isaiah Cousins notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists in the win.