Netanya edges Hap J’lem, takes series the distance

73-70 Netanya road victory sets up decisive Game 5 in BSL quarterfinal series; Ramel Bradley leads way with 19 points.

Elishay Kadir 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Elishay Kadir 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barak Netanya forced a decisive Game 5 in the BSL quarterfinals against Hapoel Jerusalem on Monday night, winning 73-70 at Malha Arena in a dramatic playoff encounter.
A Deron Washington three-pointer gave Netanya a twopoint lead (71-69) with 51 seconds to play and Jerusalem squandered a number of crucial free throws, none more important than the two missed by Courtney Fells with 6.3 seconds to play with the hosts down by a single point.
Ramel Bradley led Netanya with 19 points, with Washington scoring 17.
Netanya will host Game 5 on Thursday.
Josh Duncan had 22 points for Jerusalem, which led the series 2-0.
There was very little to separate Jerusalem and Netanya from the start of the night, with a Lior Lifshitz buzzerbeater from mid-court giving the hosts a 20-19 advantage after 10 minutes.
The lead went back and forth in the second period, but neither team managed to pull ahead by more than three points and Jerusalem was still a single point in front (33-32) at the break.
Both teams continued to struggle offensively in the second half, but Netanya still managed to lead by five points (46-41) with two minutes to play.
However, Hapoel scored the final seven points of the third quarter to take a 48-46 lead into the final 10 minutes.
The momentum remained on Jerusalem’s side at the start of the fourth frame, with its margin reaching seven points (59-52) after Meir Tapiro hit his second triple of the night midway through the quarter after scoring just one of his past 21 attempts from beyond the arc.
However, after a quiet game, Netanya’s Washington caught fire, scoring eight points in quick succession to bring the visitors within a single point (61-60) after only netting two points prior to his burst.
Fells didn’t manage to score a single point in the first three quarters, but like Washington, Fells also found his range when it mattered most hitting two consecutive threes to open a 67-60 margin.
But Netanya wasn’t done, with Bradley capping an 8-0 run to give the visitors the edge (68-67) with 1:26 remaining.
Jerusalem moved back in front thanks to a Duncan basket, but Washington’s triple with 51 seconds to play gave Netanya a lead (71-69) it wouldn’t relinquish, in large part thanks to Fells’s misses from the line.