Hapoel Jerusalem eased by Hapoel Galil Elyon 89-70 as capital city reds featured five players in double figures as they won their fourth Israeli league contest in a row. The hosts started out strong thanks to inside work by Mareks Mejeris and Zach Hankins, but the visitors stormed back as Jalen Hudson and Harel Rinski helped Barak Peleg’s team to the lead midway through the second quarter. However, Speedy Smith and Levi Randolph poured on the points over the course of the second half to wrap up the win.
Smith led all scorers with 19 points and 12 assists, Randolph and Mejeris added 14 points a piece while Hankins checked in with a double double with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the victory. Hudson scored 18 points, Nimrod Levi added 15 points and Rinski chipped in with 13 points in the loss.
“They figured out how to come back too many times that I would have liked but we won and that is most important,” Jerusalem head coach Aleksandar Dzikic said. “We had some good moments and some others that we have to discuss, but as a team we didn’t hesitate and we took initiative. I hope it won’t be a one game thing and we’ve won five in a row but we have a really rough schedule in front of us between now and January 1st.”
“It’s not fun to lose by 19 points,” Galil Elyon bench boss Barak Peleg explained. “It took Jerusalem 2-3 minutes catch fire and we had a short roster. It’s never great to lose but I am already looking toward the next game.”
The game MVP Speedy Smith spoke about the game from his point of view, “Everybody came very focused and we had a great week of practice after the break. We were able to take that into the game but there are areas that we could have played better but altogether we have a very good game.”
Zach Hankins and Mareks Mejeris scored inside and Levi Randolph hit a jumper to get things rolling for Hapoel Jerusalem as they grabbed a 12-3 lead midway through the first quarter. Mejeris fed Hankins for another dunk, Mejeris and Booker traded baskets, Harel Rinski went from deep, Noam Dovrat gave Hankins a nice pass in the paint for a basket and Or Cornelius beat the shot clock as Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad grabbed a 23-16 lead after ten minutes of play.
Jalen Hudson started finding the hoop for Hapoel Galil Elyon, Bryce Washington scored as well, Speedy Smith drained a 3-pointer, Rinski went from deep and Itay Moskovitz came right back with a pair triples to give Barak Peleg’s team a 32-31 lead with five minutes left in the sedans quarter. Smith and Hudson traded buckets, Smith went from the inside and the outside, Nimrod Levi put in a mini hook and Cornelius dialled up long distance to give the hosts a 45-39 lead at halftime.
Hankins finished off a nice team play for the first points of the third quarter, Mejeris went in for a layup, Levi and Washington responded while Randolph scored from deep to give Jerusalem a 52-43 lead midway through the period. Mejeris dunked off a fastbreak, Randolph went from downtown again, Segev scored inside, Smith went from the outside and then the two went on a 2-1 break that Segev scored on, but Rinski and Levi answered right back but Khadeen Carrington had the last word as the Capital City Reds ended the frame up 69-53.
Segev opened the fourth quarter as he cleaned up a miss so did Mejeris, Hudson and Rinski scored for the visitors, Smith, Carrington and Randolph all found points while Gilad Levy scored his first field goals for Jerusalem to finish off the 19-point victory.
Hapoel Holon downed Nes Ziona 107-92 as the hosts began to pull away in the second quarter while Erick Green’s fantastic fourth quarter sealed the deal and handed Guy Goodes’s squad the win. Green led the way with 28 points, Joe Ragland checked in with a double double 18 points and 16 assists, Hayden Dalton added 21 points while Marvin Jones scored 16 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the win. DJ Cooper paced Elad Hasin’s team with 21 points and 13 assists, Tyler Bey added 17 points and Shaq Buchanan chipped in with 16 points in the loss.
“I am very happy with the win after a two week break,” Goodes began. You never quite know how a team will return after some time off, but this was a very important home win which pushed us towards the top as we head into the twilight of the first round. Offensively we did a good job, but we still have plenty to improve upon on the defensive side.”
“We didn’t defend at all,” Hasin said after the game. “From a defensive point of view this was a very disappointing game for us and we had worked and discussed the plan. We played against a very offensive team with a pair of guards who are perhaps the best in the league. We are a young and new team and we will have to learn from this.”
Erick Green also reflected on the game, “I am the type of guy who feels the game out. Joe (Ragland) got hot and other players got into the game. In the 4th quarter it was my time and I hit some big shots but I never chase the game and I let the game come to me.”