Local Hoops: Hapoel Holon wins to move closer to Final Four berth

Also Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Hasharon maintained their places at the top of the table with easy wins over lowly opposition.

Hapoel Holon 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
Hapoel Holon 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger [file])
A 7-0 run in the final minute of the game gave Hapoel Holon an extremely important victory at Ironi Nahariya on Sunday night. Holon's 75-74 win coupled with Ironi Ramat Gan's surprising 74-72 home loss to Hapoel Afula/Gilboa means Miki Dorsman's men now have a significant two-point margin over their main challengers for a Final Four berth. Also Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Hasharon maintained their places at the top of the table with easy wins over lowly opposition. On Monday, Hapoel Jerusalem will look to extend its winning streak to three games when it visits Ironi Ashkelon. In Nahariya, the hosts held a slender lead throughout most of the encounter and seemed to be on their way to an important win after John Gilchrist's three-pointer opened a six-point margin (74-68) with just over a minute to play. Holon, however, regained the lead in practically no time, thanks to a Chester Simmons four-point move and a P.J. Tucker foul and basket. Nahariya did, nevertheless, have a chance to win the game with six seconds to play, but Otis Hill missed both of his free throws and the visitors held on for the victory. Simmons and Tucker scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, for Holon, which has now won eight of its last 10 league games. Hill scored 24 points for Nahariya, with Gilchrist the team's only other player in double figures, scoring 22 points. In Ramat Gan, the hosts led by as many as 21 points in the first half, but crumbled after the break and lost after Amit Ben-David scored a three in the dying seconds of the encounter. Lamont Jones led the winners with 17 points, with Ori Itzhaki scoring 16 points for Ramat Gan, which has now lost three straight games. At Kfar Blum, neither team managed to pull ahead in the first nine minutes of Oded Katash's return, but a 7-0 run to end the first period gave Bnei Hasharon a 24-17 lead. The visitors continued to extend their lead in the second quarter and took a deserved 12-point margin into the interval (48-36). Galil was desperately missing Gili Mosinzon, who was out with back spasms, and Katash's men completely collapsed in the second half, allowing Bnei Hasharon to cruise to an 84-63 win, one of its easiest of the season. Ndudi Ebi had an outstanding game, scoring 27 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, with Jason Willams adding 20 points for the Sharon side. In Rishon, Maccabi Tel Aviv opened a substantial lead with ease and was ahead 52-37 at the break after a Derrick Sharp three-pointer. The second half was clear sailing for the in-form Maccabi, which got 24 points and eight rebounds from the ever improving Omri Casspi and won the game 88-77.