Holon, Ashkelon, Ashdod look to close door at home

With a 70-65 win, Holon takes a 2-1 lead in its series against Hapoel Jerusalem.

Sharon Druker, Hapoel Jerusalem coach (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Sharon Druker, Hapoel Jerusalem coach
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After snatching home-court advantage from supposedly superior opponents, Hapoel Holon, Ironi Ashkelon and Maccabi Ashdod will be desperate to book their BSL Final Four tickets on Sunday night, hoping to avoid a fifth and decisive game on the road.
Holon took a 2-1 lead in its series against Hapoel Jerusalem with a 70-65 win at Malha Arena on Thursday and its coach Dan Shamir believes his team faces its toughest game of the season so far on Sunday.
“In tennis terms we have broken their serve and everyone knows that now we face the most difficult game of our season,” Shamir said.
Jerusalem won three straight games against Holon, including one on the road, before losing the past two, and coach Sharon Drucker is confident his team can send the series back to Malha for a decider.
“We lost Game 3 because of our poor free-throw shooting and their offensive rebounding,” Drucker explained.
“We will be fighting for our lives on Sunday and I believe we can do it.”
Ashkelon and Ashdod are both hoping to avoid the ignominy of becoming the first teams to lose a 2-0 lead in an Israeli playoff series after being pegged back on Thursday.
Ashkelon entered the playoffs on an eight-game losing streak, and despite falling in Game 3 at Maccabi Rishon Lezion, remains optimistic of clinching the series on Sunday.
“Rishon wanted the win more than we did in Game 3 and we lost our killer’s instinct,” said Ashkelon’s Tony Skinn. “The series is still in our hands and Game 4 will be won by the team that wants it more.”
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil remained alive against Ashdod with a 74-60 win on Thursday, but the No. 2 seed will be sent packing on Sunday if it doesn’t win away from home for the first time since the end of March when it triumphed in a regular season meeting at Ashdod.
Sunday on TV: Ironi Ashkelon vs Ris- Maccabi Rishon Lezion (live on Sport5+live at 6:45 p.m.); Maccabi Ashdod vs Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (live on Sport5+ at 7 p.m.); Hapoel Holon vs Hapoel Jerusalem (live on Sport5 at 7:15 p.m.).