Hoops: Nahariya hands J'lem another league defeat

Wins 85-82 at Ein Sara on Monday night, inching closer in its chase of a Final Four berth.

Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Ironi Nahariya recorded a significant win in its chase of a Final Four berth on Monday night, defeating Hapoel Jerusalem 85-82 at Ein Sara. The encounter was tight throughout, but Nahariya was the slightly sharper team at the end and claimed its first victory in three games. Jerusalem has now lost in three of its last four BSL games and will need to return to winning ways quickly or it could find itself struggling to make the end of season tournament. Ashante Johnson led the hosts with 22 points and six rebounds, with Adrian Pledger scoring 17 points for Nahariya. Erez Markovitch scored 15 points for Hapoel, with Jamie Arnold adding 14 points and seven rebounds. Nahariya opened the second period with 10 straight points, but Hapoel quickly tied the score with an Arnold basket. A three-point move by Hill gave the hosts a 35-29 advantage with four minutes to play in the first half, but Jerusalem came right back once again and Dror Hagag's free throws tied the score at 43-43 at the interval. The encounter continued to be tightly contested in the third period, with neither team managing to open a margin bigger than four points. Arnold scored Jerusalem's first points of the final quarter after three minutes and 20 seconds and four straight Markovitch points brought the visitors within one point (72-71). A Hill turnaround jumper opened an 82-77 Ironi lead with less than a minute to play, but Hapoel tied the score (82-82) with 20 seconds to play after a Hagag three. Nahariya's Avi Suker scored just one of two free throws eight second later, but Hagag missed on the other end and the hosts clinched the big win.