Still a two-team bottleneck atop BSL

Co-leaders Mac TA, Hap J’lem both triumph; Teams look ahead to quarterfinal playoffs.

HAPOEL Tel Aviv guard Raviv Limonad scored team-high 19 points in the Reds’ 86-80 victory last night at Maccabi Haifa. (photo credit: ALAN SHIBER/BSL)
HAPOEL Tel Aviv guard Raviv Limonad scored team-high 19 points in the Reds’ 86-80 victory last night at Maccabi Haifa.
(photo credit: ALAN SHIBER/BSL)
Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem maintained the status quo at the top of the BSL standings with comfortable wins on Sunday night.
Tel Aviv looked to be in an awkward position when it entered the halftime break trailing Maccabi Rishon Lezion by 10 points (46-36).
However, the yellow-and-blue outscored Rishon 26-6 in the third quarter to seize complete control of the encounter, before ultimately cruising to an 83-73 victory, its 12th in a row in the BSL.
Alex Tyus had 18 points and 14 rebounds for Maccabi (17-4), with Jake Cohen scoring 16 points for Rishon (6-15).
After seeing its 13-game winning streak snapped by a 22-point defeat at the hands of Maccabi last week, Hapoel Jerusalem (17- 4) bounced back with an 85-64 victory at Barak Netanya (7-14).
Jerusalem opened the game with a 31-13 run and never looked back, allowing coach Brad Greenberg to rest his starters ahead of Wednesday’s Eurocup last 16 first leg at Ulm of Germany.
Lior Eliyahu led Jerusalem with 17 points, while Dawan Robinson had 29 points for Netanya.
Hapoel Tel Aviv (13-8) took a significant step towards clinching a top-four seed and home-court advantage in the playoffs with an impressive 86-80 victory at Maccabi Haifa (14-7) on Sunday.
Hapoel snapped Haifa’s sixgame winning steak, triumphing in a tight contest thanks to a late 7-0 surge (81-73).
Carlon Brown led Tel Aviv with 21 points, while Josh Owens added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Raviv Limonad also scored 19 points, ensuring he has still netted at least 15 points in all 16 of the BSL games he has played this season.
Brian Randle and Dagan Yavzuri had 14 points each for Haifa.
Hapoel’s win maintained its one-game lead over Hapoel Eilat (12-9) in fifth place ahead of the final game of the regular season next week.
Eilat beat Hapoel Holon (10-11) 78-70 on Sunday behind 23 points from Yancy Gates. Laurence Bowers scored 17 points for Holon.
Despite the win, Eilat can no longer finish any higher than fifth, with Tel Aviv owning the tiebreaker between the teams should they end the regular season with the same record.
Ironi Ness Ziona (11-9) is the only team which can leapfrog the Reds from Tel Aviv should it beat Bnei Herzliya (6-14) on Monday and defeat Eilat next week combined with a Hapoel loss to Maccabi Ashdod at home.
The league will be split in two after next week, with the top four to duel for position after already securing home-court advantage in the quarterfinal playoffs.
The bottom eight sides will face each other once more for a place in the top eight and a playoff berth.
The team in last place will be demoted to the National League.
Ashdod (4-17) resurrected its survival hopes on Sunday, defeating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (8-13) 81-74.
Ashdod’s three Americans accounted for 60 of the team’s points, with Kenny Hayes, Elijah Millsap and Marcus Dove scoring 24, 22 and 14 points, respectively.
Kenny Boynton led Gilboa with 17 points.