Hapoel thrashes Haifa, leads league for now

Hapoel Jerusalem made it four straight BSL wins, thrashing Maccabi Haifa 95-76 at Malha Arena.

Yuval Naimi 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Yuval Naimi 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem made it four straight BSL wins on Saturday, thrashing Maccabi Haifa 95-76 at Malha Arena.
Jerusalem seized control of the encounter by outscoring Haifa 24-14 in the third period and recorded a confidence-boosting win ahead of its crucial visit to BCM Gravelines in France in Eurocup action on Tuesday.
Jarvis Varnado had 16 points for Jerusalem, with D.J. Strawberry scoring 15 and Elishay Kadir adding 14 points for Hapoel, which shot 11 of 23 from distance.
Tyler Wilkerson led Haifa with 22 points.
Jerusalem held a four-point gap (23-19) after 10 minutes, but a 12-0 run early in the second period gave the hosts a double-digit cushion (35-21).
However, Hapoel wasn’t as comfortable as it seemed, with Sylven Landesberg scoring nine points in the remainder of the quarter to end the half with 15 points and bring Haifa within four (41-37) at the break.
The visitors would come no closer though, with Jerusalem scoring 19 of the next 24 points to end Haifa’s challenge.
Kadir continued his excellent game and even Uri Kukia got in the act, scoring two points to open a 60-42 gap Haifa was never going to erase.
On Sunday, Ironi Ashkelon will look to get back to winning ways when it visits Bnei Hasharon in Adi Azulai’s first game in charge of the hosts.
Ashkelon had won four straight games before being thrashed 93- 74 by BC Habika’a last week, but it will have every chance of getting back on track against the struggling Bnei Hasharon.
Azulai replaced Roei Hagay as coach last week after the latter was sacked following four consecutive defeats and a 1-5 start to the season.
Bnei Hasharon is only kept off the bottom of the standings by winless Barak Netanya, which hosts Habika’a on Sunday.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion visits Maccabi Ashdod.
Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Holon on Monday.