J’lem routs Hap TA for sweet revenge

Hapoel J’lem wins 98-83 on the road while Eilat climbs to second after Haifa loss.

Meir Tapiro 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Meir Tapiro 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem returned to winning ways in convincing fashion on Sunday night, thrashing Hapoel Tel Aviv 98- 83 on the road.
Despite hosting the showdown in Ashdod after being sentenced to play the game away from its home arena in Rishon Lezion due to the unruliness of its fans, Tel Aviv got off to the better start, leading 29-20 after ending the first period with an 8-0 run.
However, a 10-0 Jerusalem surge ensured the game was tied (45-45) at the break and Tel Aviv ran out of steam in the second half, dropping to its fourth straight defeat and sixth in seven games.
Josh Duncan led six Jerusalem players in double-figures with 22 points, with Courtney Fells scoring 21 for Sharon Drucker’s side, which clinched the win thanks to a 12-3 run to start the fourth frame.
“This was a big game for us,” said Duncan after Jerusalem avenged its first-round loss to Tel Aviv. “Last time they beat us pretty bad. It took everything we had to claim the victory. We told each other at halftime to stay aggressive and don’t hang our heads and we played better.”
Demontez Stitt had 24 points for the floundering Tel Aviv, with new American guard Jermaine Taylor scoring 17 points on his debut.
Hapoel Eilat took sole possession of second place on Sunday, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 80-74 to improve to 9-4 and make the most of Maccabi Haifa’s 91-74 humbling at the hands of Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
Eilat seemed to be cruising to the win when it opened a 14-point gap (67-53) early in the fourth quarter, but a 15-3 run by Rishon brought the visitors within just two points (70-68).
However, Rishon could not complete the comeback and dropped to its first defeat under new coach Roni Bosani.
Scotty Hopson led Eilat with 20 points and six boards, with Afik Nissim netting 16 points.
Willie Warren scored 23 for Rishon, which fell to 6-7.
Gilboa/Galil climbed off the bottom of the standings on Sunday with a surprisingly straightforward victory over Haifa.
Gilboa opened a 12-point gap (46-34) by the break in Gan Ner and maintained a double-digit cushion throughout the second half to improve to 4-9.
Dagan Yavzuri was red-hot for Gilboa, scoring 30 points, including 7-of-12 shots from three-point range, while also registering seven assists.
Kenny Hayes added 17 points for the hosts, with Donta Smith scoring 21 points for Haifa, which fell to 8-5.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Asheklon, while Bnei Herzliya visits Barak Netanya.
Hapoel Holon, which visits Paris Levallois in its EuroChallenge Last 16 Group J opener on Tuesday, came back from a 20-point second half deficit to defeat Maccabi Ashdod 107-103 in overtime on Saturday.