Hap J’lem overcomes Mac Haifa in BSL duel

Rishon Lezion nips Ashkelon by one point; Netanya puts up a fight but falls to Mac TA.

Lior Eliyahu 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Lior Eliyahu 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Despite its roster being ravaged by injuries, Hapoel Jerusalem claimed its third straight BSL win on Sunday, beating Maccabi Haifa 95-90 at Malha Arena.
Hapoel got the game off to a horrible start, but found its way in the third quarter, outscoring Haifa 36-21 to clinch a win which keeps it in second position in the standings.
Maccabi Tel Aviv continues to lead the table comfortably, beating Barak Netanya 85-71 on the road on Sunday to improve to 14-1 on the season, winning its games by an average 21 points.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion recorded its third win in four games, beating Ironi Ashkelon 89-88.
Nitzan Hanochi was the star for Rishon, scoring the winning basket with six seconds to play before stealing the ball from Desmon Farmer at the other end.
Hanochi led his team with 22 points, with Aaron McGhee and Dwayne Mitchell scoring 19 points each.
Farmer had 19 points for Ashkelon, which has lost five of six games.
Maccabi Ashdod hosts Bnei Hasharon on Monday.
After being humiliated by 48 points at Nokia Arena earlier this season, Netanya was playing for pride more than anything else on Sunday.
Eric Alfasi’s team got the game off to an excellent start and had a surprise 26- 18 lead after 10 minutes, scoring seven of the final nine points of the quarter.
However, Netanya could not keep Maccabi quiet for long and the yellow-and- blue moved up a gear in the second period. Tel Aviv regained its composure on defense and Sofo’s basket capped a 17-2 run which gave the visitors a stranglehold on the game (37-30).
A Doron Perkins three-point play extended the gap to double-digits (42- 32) and Maccabi took a 42-35 lead into the break.
Tel Aviv increased its margin to double- figures once more by scoring the first five points of the second half, and never looked back, claiming yet another easy league win.
Perkins had 28 points for Maccabi, with Sofoklis Schortsanitis adding 17 and Lior Eliyahu scoring 13.
Romeo Travis had 19 points for Netanya.
At Malha, Jerusalem looked dazed at the start of the game and found itself down by 11 points (13-2) after just three minutes.
Haifa extended its cushion to 14 points (24-10) at one stage, but Hapoel scored the final six points of the quarter to remain in touch with the Greens after 10 minutes (24-16).
Haifa was still in control for the first seven minutes of the second period, opening a 39-25 margin, but the visitors would lose their margin in no time.
Hapoel scored 19 points in the final three minutes of the half and entered the interval down by just two points (46-44).
There was little to separate the teams at the start of the third quarter, but Jerusalem exploded in the second part of the period, hitting shots from beyond the arc as if they were layups.
Hapoel scored eight of eight three-point attempts in the frame and Yogev Ohayon’s layup to end the quarter opened an 80-67 advantage with 10 minutes to play.
Haifa managed to close within five points (83-78) four minutes into the period, but Jerusalem went on a 7-0 run, capped by a Ohayon triple, to reopen a double-figure margin and clinch a third straight BSL win.
Dion Dowell had 18 points for Hapoel, with Will Solomon scoring 17 and Ohayon contributing 16 points and 11 assists.
Sylven Landesberg had 21 points for Haifa, which has now lost 10 of 11 BSL games.