Local hoops: Arnold leads Hap J'lem against Galil Elyon

Wins 98-89 at Malha Arena. On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in front of empty stands.

Hapoel Jerusalem 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Hapoel Jerusalem 248.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Hapoel Jerusalem has no problem winning its home games as it showed again on Saturday night with a 98-89 victory over Hapoel Galil Elyon in the BSL. Having won every one of its seven previous games in both the league and ULEB Cup at Malha Arena this season, Dan Shamir's team was odds on to beat a resilient Galil Elyon Side, which put up a fight and kept close for most of the game but rarely looked like winning. Shamir was somewhat dissatisfied with the game, despite the win. "We started well but we also made a lot of mistakes during the game. I don't feel as good as the statistics show, as we didn't play as well as we should have done," he told reporters. "Galil is a strong team which often reaches 90 points in games and shoots a lot, but we played well in the first and fourth quarters and I'm happy we got the win." The match was being played on a Saturday to give both teams an extra day to prepare for their road games in the ULEB Cup on Tuesday, an entirely different proposition for the two Israeli sides. Jerusalem hasn't won a single away game in either European or local league play and will need all its strength to change that statistic. Jerusalem plays in Strasbourg, France, while Galil Elyon will face Austrian team Swans Gmunden. Jamie Arnold led Jerusalem with 21 points, the same number as Timmy Bowers, and admitted its time for his side to step it up away from home in the European Arena. "Teams seem to have a different attitude on the road but we need to dedicate ourselves down the stretch," Arnold said after the game against Galil Elyon. "Its a long process and hopefully we will be ready for it." Arnold's offense was key for Hapoel Jerusalem, which moved to top place in the BSL standings ahead of Sunday's full program of games. Doron Shefer, who shone at Hapoel Jerusalem when the Reds won the ULEB Cup in 2004, played another weak game for the visiting side. Even though the ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv star scored the first points for Galil Elyon from just inside the arc to make the score 6-2 Jerusalem with two minutes gone, Shefer would add only three more in his 29 minutes on the court. Marcus Slaughter is clearly enjoying his time playing for Jerusalem and showed it by trying to sing the national anthem before the game and then slam-dunking an alley-oop pass from Guy Pniny to put Jerusalem 11-2 up. However, a few minutes later Slaughter was helped off the court after injuring his knee and is a doubt for Tuesday's game. Slaughter returned to the sidelines 11 seconds before the end of the quarter, which ended with the hosts leading by only three points 20-23, but he did not take any further part in the game. The second quarter saw shots missed by Sasson for Jerusalem and strong offense from Galil Elyon and at half time the score was 43-42 Jerusalem. Galil took the lead at the start of the second half and kept up with the hosts for a while. A Shefer three, his second basket of the night, made it 50-49 to the visiting team. But Jerusalem returned to the front foot and kept a lead for most of the quarter. As the game drew towards a close Jerusalem took control on a 10-0 run, creating an 83-73 lead which it never looked like losing. On Sunday, Bnei Hasharon will look to build on its impressive win over Maccabi Tel Aviv last week when it hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Ironi Ramat Gan faces Ironi Ashkelon in a game between two teams that have lost their last two league games. Also Sunday, Ironi Nahariya will try an rebound from its disappointing defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem last week when is visits Hapoel Afula/Gilboa. On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in front of empty stands.