Hap TA in seventh heaven with another win

Reds claim seventh straight victory this month, J’lem beats Ashdod to remain in first place.

Raviv Limonad 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Raviv Limonad 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv completed a perfect December with a tense 80-78 victory at Bnei Herzliya on Sunday night, while Hapoel Jerusalem secured itself another week at the top of the standings with a nail-biting win at Maccabi Ashdod.
Tel Aviv beat Jerusalem in the State Cup quarterfinals on Thursday and improved to 7-0 in all competitions this month thanks to Raviv Limonad’s two free-throws with 4.3 seconds to play on Sunday.
Erez Edelstein’s team hit the ground running in Herzliya, opening an early double- digit gap (17-6) and taking a 10-point cushion (24- 14) into the second period.
However, Herzliya began the second quarter with a 9-0 run and was down by five points (42-37) at the interval.
A Dwayne Broyles basket midway through the third frame handed Herzliya (57- 56) its first lead of the night, only for an 11-0 surge to put the visitors in control (71-61) early in the final quarter.
Herzliya came all the way back to tie the game through Aviram Zelikovic’s basket with 17 seconds remaining, only for Limonad to score the crucial points of the night before Broyles missed a chance to snatch the win at the buzzer.
Limonad led all scorers with 25 points, with Carlon Brown and Matan Naor netting 23 and 14 points, respectively, for Hapoel, which moved to 8-4.
“We lost our rhythm in the second quarter, but I’m happy that we recovered and made the right decisions when it mattered most,” said Edelstein. “We want to take one step at a time and continue to improve.”
Michael Umah had 17 points for Herzliya (5-7).
Jerusalem (9-3) bounced back from its frustrating cup exit with a tighter-thanexpected 87-85 triumph at the floundering Ashdod (2- 10).
With Eric Alfasi guiding Ashdod in league action for the first time since taking charge of the side two weeks ago, the hosts were playing with added motivation and there was very little to separate the teams in the first half.
Yotam Halperin’s basket to end the second quarter gave Jerusalem a five-point edge (45-40) at the break and Ronald Dupree’s three-pointer capped a 7-0 run to begin the second half which opened a double-digit cushion (52-40).
A 10-0 Ashdod surge tied the game (57-57), which would ultimately only be decided in the final minute.
Hapoel squandered several opportunities to clinch the victory and breathed a huge sigh of relief when R.T.
Guinn missed a chance to complete a comeback at the buzzer.
Josh Duncan had 18 points for Hapoel, with Halperin adding 16 points for Brad Greenberg’s team, which won for the ninth time in its past 10 games.
Xavier Silas scored 21 points for Ashdod, which lost for the ninth time in 10 contests.
Maccabi Haifa (7-5) finally returned to winning ways on Sunday, beating Barak Netanya (4-8) 90-74 at Romema Arena.
After a promising start to the campaign, Haifa lost its way in the past month, losing three straight BSL games and its last two Eurocup contests, as well as being knocked out in the last 16 of the cup at the hands of Hapoel Eilat last week.
However, the return from injury of Brian Randle helped the Greens get back on track on Sunday, with the American forward contributing 13 points. Donta Smith led five Haifa players in double- figures with 18 points, while Dawan Robinson had 14 points for Netanya.
Also Sunday, Hapoel Eilat (7-5) beat Hapoel Gilba/Galil (5-7) 78-62. Yancy Gates scored 15 points for Eilat, with Deshawn Sims netting 19 points for Gilboa.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Hapoel Holon at Nokia Arena, with Ironi Ness Ziona visiting Maccabi Rishon Lezion.