Local Hoops: Jerusalem comes back to defeat Galil/Gilboa 81-74 at Malha

Hapoel Jerusalem maintains its perfect home league record.

HAPOEL JERUSALEM sneed 248.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem maintained its perfect home league record on Sunday, overcoming a stern test from Hapoel Galil/Gilboa. Galil led by six points with less than three minutes to play, but Hapoel ended the encounter with a 13-0 run to win 81-74 and improve to 9-0 at Malha in the BSL this season. Timmy Bowers made the difference in the closing stages, scoring nine of his side's final 13 points, ending the game with 23 points. "Down the stretch we just wanted to show our heart and character," Bowers said. "It was tough. Galil played great today and made a lot of shots. This was a very important win." Roger Powell added 16 points and seven rebounds for Jerusalem, which with just four more games remaining to play in the regular season is now very close to clinching second position in the standings. Isaiah Swann led five Galil players in double-figures, scoring 14 points. "Jerusalem made some big plays in the crucial minutes and Bowers hit shots only he is capable of in Israel," said Galil coach Oded Katash, who was infuriated with the referees at the end of the game after seeing a call go against his team in the final minute. It was a difficult evening for the hosts, who scored the first points of the night, but then struggled on offense for the remainder of the first half, allowing the visitors to dictate the play. Galil led 16-15 after the first period and an 11-1 run in the second quarter, capped by a Swann three-pointer, opened a 37-29 margin. The hosts closed to within four points by the break (37-33) and opened a 47-43 advantage after a good start to the second half. Two straight Dagan Yavzuri threes gave Galil a 57-55 advantage with 10 minutes to play, and Katash's team seemed to be well placed with less than three minutes to go, leading 74-68. However, the final minutes belonged to the hosts and especially Bowers, who almost single handedly turned the game on its head. Meanwhile, in Nahariya, a Luis Flores basket with 2.5 seconds remaining gave Hapoel Holon its fourth straight victory, 76-74 over Ironi Nahariya. Flores scored 25 points for Holon, with Ron Lewis scoring 23 points for the losers. Also Sunday, Maccabi Haifa snapped its three game losing streak, defeating Ironi Kiryat Ata 92-75 in Romema. After losing its last two games by a combined 41 points, Haifa was desperate to return to winning ways, but didn't have it all its own way against Kiryat Ata. The BSL's rock-bottom team remained in touch with Haifa for the first 26 minutes of the game, only for the hosts to go on a 15-4 run in the final four minutes of the third period to clinch the win. Davon Jefferson was superb for Haifa, scoring 31 points and taking 15 rebounds. Doron Perkins scored seven points and passed eight assists on his return from injury, with Moshe Mizrahi and Ido Kozikaro each adding 16 points. Haminn Quaintance scored 17 points for Kiryat Ata, which is running out of time in its battle against relegation. Bnei Hasharon suffered a surprise 81-76 defeat at Ironi Ashkelon on Sunday, despite an excellent debut from new signing Ira Newble. Newble led his team with 17 points, but Rashon Turner scored 17 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to help his team to a crucial victory. Also Sunday, Ironi Ramat Gan claimed its fifth win in six games, beating Maccabi Givat Shmuel 90-89 after overtime behind Anthony Myles' 26 points. On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion.