Ness Ziona still flying high after win over Hap TA

BSL newcomers complete sweep of Tel Aviv clubs; Maccabi Haifa defeats Bnei Herzliya on road; Hapoel Jerusalem moves to 2-2.

IRONI NESS ZIONA’S Preston Knowles 370 (photo credit: BSL website)
IRONI NESS ZIONA’S Preston Knowles 370
(photo credit: BSL website)
Ironi Ness Ziona’s dream start to its first-ever BSL campaign continued on Saturday night with a dramatic 76-75 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv at Hadar Yosef Arena.
Ness Ziona stunned Maccabi Tel Aviv 72-71 last week and it completed the double over the Tel Aviv clubs thanks to Tyler Honeycutt’s basket with 2.6 seconds to play.
Hapoel Tel Aviv looked to be in control after outscoring Ness Ziona 27-11 in the second period to take a 15-point cushion (49-34) into the break.
However, the visitors would bounce back with a stunning third quarter, outscoring Hapoel 22-5 to take a two-point lead (56-54) into the final 10 minutes.
There was little to separate the teams throughout the fourth frame, with Josh Evans giving Tel Aviv the edge (75-74) with 24 seconds remaining. However, Honeycutt would score the night’s most important points to secure Ness Ziona its third straight win.
Preston Knowles had 18 points for the winners, with Mitchell Watt scoring 17 and Honeycutt adding 16 points. Veteran Israeli Meir Tapiro contributed seven points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
Ness Ziona’s win took it tied at 3-1 with first-placed Hapoel Eilat, which beat Barak Netanya 86-74 on Thursday night.
“We showed a lot of character and that is our real strength,” said Ness Ziona coach Nadav Zilberstein.
Carlon Brown netted 20 points for Hapoel, with Raviv Limonad scoring 18 points.
Maccabi Haifa recorded its fourth straight win in all competitions on Saturday, beating Bnei Herzliya 85-81 on the road.
Haifa maintained a slender lead throughout almost the entire night and it held off a late Herzliya surge to improve to 2-1.
Donta Smith had 25 points and 11 rebounds for Haifa, with Moran Roth adding 24 points.
Chris Warren led Herzliya with 21 points.
“We shouldn’t have been dragged into a tight game, but I’m pleased we won,” said Haifa coach Danny Franco.
On Friday, Hapoel Jerusalem moved to 2-2 with its second straight league win, defeating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 91-70.
Rishon took a one-point edge (40-39) into the interval, but Jerusalem seized control with a 13-2 run to start the second half (52- 42), capped by a Yotam Halperin three.
The hosts still managed to close within two points (63- 61), but Hapoel replied with a 14-2 surge (77-63) to wrap up the win.
Artsiom Parakhouski had 19 points for Jerusalem, with Josh Duncan registering 17 points and nine rebounds.
Rishon dropped to 1-3 despite Shawn Dowson’s 18 points and eight rebounds.
There will be no BSL action on Sunday, but four more games will take place on Monday and one more on Tuesday.