Maccabi Haifa 74, Hapoel Jerusalem 78 The visitors got off to a quick start, opening an 8-2 lead after two-and-a-half minutes.Haifa’s defense failed to reach its usual standards, and with the hosts also struggling on offense, Jerusalem took a 21-12 gap into the second quarter.A Richard Roby three-pointer brought Maccabi within three points (25-22), but Hapoel would go on a 14-4 run after that to extend its margin to double figures (39-26).Amit Ben-David’s three to end the first half cut the deficit to 39-29, but Jerusalem extended its lead once more at the start of the second half, leading at one stage by 15 points before taking a 63-51 advantage into the fourth quarter.Jerusalem seemed to be cruising at the beginning of the fourth period, but a 14-4 Haifa run brought the hosts within just two points (72-70) with less than two minutes to play.However, in Hapoel’s next possession Pooh Jeter hit a clutch triple to give the visitors a cushion they would not lose until the end of the encounter.Dijon Thompson led Jerusalem with 17 points and 11 rebounds, with Jeter adding 15 points. Amit Ben-David had 18 points for Haifa, but Davon Jefferson scored just 11 points while taking 11 rebounds and Avi Ashkenazi’s team faces a very tough series against Netanya.Maccabi Tel Aviv 88, Barak Netanya 60After a tight opening five minutes, Netanya pulled ahead, leading 17-10 at one stage. However, the visitors led just 19-14 after 10 minutes and Maccabi seized control in the second period, leading 38-31 at the break.A 7-0 Netanya run to start the second half tied the score at 38-38, butthe visitors couldn’t complete the comeback and David Bluthenthal’sthree gave Tel Aviv a 61-47 advantage with 10 minutes to play,rendering the fourth period meaningless.Alan Anderson had 15 points for Maccabi, with Tony Washam scoring 21 points for Netanya.
Bnei Hasharon 78, Ironi Nahariya 66The hosts got off to a blistering start, opening a 16-3 lead midwaythrough the first quarter after a Shawn James basket. Two points by RonSteele gave Bnei Hasharon a 28-14 lead after 10 minutes, but Nahariyacontinued to fight and was down by just seven (37-30) at halftime.Bnei Hasharon regained a double-digit cushion yet again at the start ofthe second half and for all of Nahariya’s efforts, Dan Shamir’s mensailed to the important win and booked their place in the playoffs.