Sasson lifts Hapoel over Haifa

J'lem forward scores 25 points to give the team the win, 80-73.

Sharon Sasson 298.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Sharon Sasson 298.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
A three point clinic by Sharon Sasson gave Hapoel Jerusalem an impressive 80-73 victory against Maccabi Haifa at Romema on Sunday. The Hapoel forward scored 25 points, hitting seven of 11 attempts from beyond the arc, and made sure his team didn't suffer a drop from its victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv just 72 hours earlier. "We are playing the best basketball in the BSL at the moment," said Sasson, who also grabbed six rebounds. "We showed our character tonight. We were composed and determined," Hapoel coach Guy Goodes said. "I spoke to the players before the game to make sure they keep grounded after the Maccabi win, and they were mature enough to achieve this." Omar Sneed scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Hapoel, with Doron Perkins leading the hosts with 21 points. Maccabi Tel Aviv thrashed Maccabi Givat Shmuel 81-61 at the Nokia Arena on Sunday, but the win was far from convincing, as Maccabi allowed the visitors within three points in the final quarter after leading by 19 points at halftime. "We were composed in the first half, but shot ourselves in the leg in the second half and needed to clinch the win in the final minutes," under-fire Maccabi coach Effi Birenboim said. "This lowers our shaky confidence even more." Also Sunday, Miki Dorsman guided Maccabi Rishon Lezion to its first victory of the season in his debut on the sideline, defeating Ironi Ashkelon 88-80 on the road. After a tight first half (42-42), Rishon took control of the game in the third and held on to the lead until the final buzzer. "This wasn't a pretty victory, but the most important thing is that we won," Dorsman said. Robert Conley scored 32 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the winners, with James Hughes adding 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Gili Mosinzon scoring 18 points. Amit Tamir led Ashkelon, scoring 21 points, with the BSL's top scorer, Steve Burtt, being held to just 17 points. Ironi Nahariya snapped its three game losing skid on Sunday, winning 79-64 at Ironi Ramat Gan. "Even Pat Riley couldn't get more out of this roster," Ramat Gan coach Robi Balinko said after the loss. "We need to make changes to the team." Nahariya got 19 points and 11 rebounds from Aaron McGhee, with Raviv Limonad scoring 17. Carmelo Lee scored 16 points for Ramat Gan, which is still winless and is in serious trouble after falling to its fifth straight defeat. On Monday, Hapoel Holon hosts Hapoel Galil Elyon/Gilboa. At Romema, Perkins hit two straight three-pointers to end the first period, giving the hosts a 22-20 lead. Jerusalem was the sharper team at the start of the second quarter but let up a little towards the end of the frame,allowing Haifa to take the lead. However, Hapoel ended the period with an 8-0 run, capped by a Sasson triple, and led 42-41 at the interval. The visitors continued to extend their gap in the third quarter, with a Timmy Bowers (10 points) basket giving the team a double-digit cushion (63-52). Haifa closed to within seven points (66-59) by the start of the fourth period, but Sasson made sure that Jerusalem remained in front and clinched the win with his seventh three of the night with 90 seconds remaining. In Tel Aviv, Maccabi got off to a dominating start and led 24-11 after 10 minutes. The hosts were far from impressive, but Givat Shmuel was far worse, and Birenboim's men had a 19-point margin at the break (46-27). The visitors took advantage of a lethargic Maccabi and closed to within three points (60-57) in the fourth period after Steffon Bradford scored seven straight points to cap an 11-0 Givat Shmuel run. Oren Aharoni's team would never complete its comeback, however, with Maccabi regaining its composure and claiming a big win by ending the encounter with a 21-4 run. Carlos Arroyo scored 19 points and passed eight assists, with Lior Eliyahu adding 18 points and seven rebounds.