Kristine L Ming

Jerusalem downs Eilat to gain ground as Netanyahu tops Gilboa

After squandering second-half double-digit leads in its past two games, Hapoel Jerusalem returned to winning ways on Sunday by scoring 14 of the final 19 points of the night to defeat Hapoel Eilat 84-72 at the Jerusalem Arena.

Jerusalem dropped to a 74-65 loss at Maccabi Ashdod last week despite holding a 13-point margin in the third quarter, a week after allowing Hapoel Tel Aviv back from 19 points down in the second half to fall to an 89-85 defeat.

Eilat, which had also lost its previous two games, remained within striking distance of Jerusalem for most of the contest, trailing by just three points (70- 67) midway through the fourth quarter. But the hosts wouldn’t be denied, ensuring a sweet finish to a night which began with a special ceremony honoring Amar’e Stoudemire, who was attending a Jerusalem game for the first time since leaving the club last summer and retiring, returning to his position as a minority owner.

Jerome Dyson scored 16 points for the winners, which improved to 11-5, with Ronald Roberts adding 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jordan Loyd netted 21 points for Eilat, which fell to 6-10.

Meanwhile, after losing six of its previous seven games, Ironi Nahariya settled some nerves by defeating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 101-97.

Gilboa came back from a 16-point deficit to take a 78-76 lead in the fourth quarter on a three-pointer from J’Covan Brown. Nahariya scored the next eight points and would remain in front until the finish.

Alex Young had 23 points for Nahariya, with Brown netting 34 for Gilboa, which fell to 8-8.

On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv (12-3) looks to reestablish a one-game lead in first place over Hapoel Holon when it hosts Maccabi Rishon Lezion (7-8).

Tel Aviv faces a crucial Euroleague game against Barcelona at Yad Eliyahu Arena on Thursday and will first and foremost aim to come through Monday’s encounter unscathed.

The yellow-and-blue lost its last home game in BSL action against Gilboa, with two of its three local defeats this season coming over its past five games.

Elsewhere Monday, in-form Maccabi Ashdod looks to make it six BSL victories in a row when it visits Ironi Ness Ziona.

After losing seven of its first 10 games, Ashdod moved over .500 for the first time this season with last week’s victory over Jerusalem, a seventh consecutive triumph over all competitions after also advancing to the State Cup semifinals.

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