Local Basketball: Hapoel J'lem finally wins on road

Reds edge Hap Afula/Gilboa 97-92, Bnei Hasharon defeats Ironi Ramat Gan 94-81; Hap Holon beats Galil Elyon 97-82; Mac Rishon Lezion wins 77-65 against Ironi Ashkelon.

erez markovitch 298.88 (photo credit: Toms Kalnins/EPA)
erez markovitch 298.88
(photo credit: Toms Kalnins/EPA)
After 10 straight losses away from home Hapoel Jerusalem finally claimed its first road win of the season on Sunday night. Jerusalem edged Hapoel Afula/Gilboa 97-92, handing the hosts their fifth consecutive home defeat. Bnei Hasharon rebounded on Sunday from its home loss to Hapoel Galil Elyon last week, defeating Ironi Ramat Gan 94-81 in Ra'anana. Also Sunday, Hapoel Holon beat Galil Elyon 97-82 and Maccabi Rishon Lezion defeated Ironi Ashkelon 77-65. On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Ironi Nahariya at the Nokia Arena. Hapoel Afula/Gilboa 92, Hapoel Jerusalem 97 Erez Markovitch scored Jerusalem's first six points of the game, but the visitors trailed by two points after 10 minutes (23-21). Afula/Gilboa opened a 29-23 lead at the start of the second period, but a Timmy Bowers three-pointer three minutes into the quarter tied the score (29-29). Lamont Jones's three-point move with just seconds remaining in the first half seemed to have given the hosts a five point halftime lead, but Dror Hajaj brought Jerusalem within two points with a mid-court buzzer-beater (48-46). Neither team managed to open-up a substantial lead during the third period and Ekene Ibekwe's dunk at the end of the quarter meant the score was tied (73-73) with 10 minutes to play. Guy Pnini's three two minutes into the fourth period gave the visitors a four-point margin (79-75), but Afula remained within touching distance throughout the quarter. Gur Porat's triple with 25 seconds to play cut the deficit to 95-92 and the hosts had a chance to tie the score in the dying seconds of the encounter. Porat had time and space with nine seconds remaining, but he missed his shot from beyond the arc and Jerusalem claimed the road win. Bowers scored 21 points for Jerusalem, with Pnini adding 19 points. Ibekwe had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the hosts. Bnei Hasharon 94, Ironi Ramat Gan 81 The hosts raced to an early lead and Erez Katz's three gave the team a 27-16 margin after 10 minutes. Bnei Hasharon built a 49-32 advantage by the break and seemed to be cruising, opening an 18-point gap with 10 minutes to play. Ramat Gan did, however, close within three points (78-75) in the final quarter with a 16-4 run and weren't far from completing a comeback. Nevertheless Cookie Belcher would ensure that the hosts claimed the important win with a clutch basket. Jason Williams and Meir Tapiro each scored 18 points for the winners, with Ori Itzhaki scoring 16 points for the visitors. Hapoel Holon 97, Hapoel Galil Elyon 82 After playing its last four home games in front of empty stands, Holon treated its returning supporters to an easy home victory on Sunday. Holon, which last week completed its punishment for the fire-cracker explosion at the Malha Arena in November, led throughout the encounter and was never in any danger of losing the game. The hosts were led by Chester Simmons's 25 points, with Eric Campbell scoring 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Aaron Nixon scored 21 points for Galil. Ironi Ashkelon 65, Maccabi Rishon Lezion 77 A tight encounter at Ashkelon was decided by a fourth quarter run by Rishon Lezion. Cedric Banks led the visitors with 16 points, with Juan Mendez adding 15 points. Cory Carr scored 12 points for Ashkelon.