Jerusalem downs Holon, Ramat Gan gets by Eilat

Apr 20, 2024 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem dropped Hapoel Holon 96-89 as the Reds came back from a double digit deficit to take the win. Justin Smith and Kevin Hervey gave Amit Sherf’s team an early lead but Speedy Smith proved to be unstoppable, Yovel Zoosman played arguably his best game since joining the Reds and Chris Johnson who made his return to the Toto Arena hit huge 3-pointers to take the lead and chalk up the victory.

Speedy Smith – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Smith scored 26 points going 8/12 from long distance, Zoosman added 19 points and Johnson scored 17 points hitting 4/5 from downtown in the win. Tahjere McCall scored 17 points, Justin Smith scored 14 points and Niv Misgav chipped in with 13 points in the loss.

Yonatan Alon – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“It was a fun game,” Jerusalem Head Coach Yonatan Alon began. “I really like being here in this type of atmosphere in a rough and tough game which was also difficult to officiate as well. Our defense really made the difference in this game. As for Chris Johnson, he does all of his talking on the court and that’s what he did.”

Amit Sherf – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

“We began the way we wanted to,” Holon Head Coach Amit Sherf said. “But we made some turnovers and they hit some 3-pointers and then the momentum shifted where we couldn’t stop players like Speedy Smith from deep. We tried to make a run at the end but it wasn’t enough.”

Yovel Zoosman – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Yovel Zoosman spoke about the victory, “It was a very emotional game and we had to show what we could do. We played in a very tough arena and I hope this win will take us forward. On a personal level, this was a very good game for me but we are playing in a team sport and togetehr we showed a lot of character.”

Drew Crawford – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Drew Crawford spoke about the game, “They started hitting a lot of threes and that got them back into the game. We had some bad close outs and bad one on ones and they penetrated into the lane, plus they hit some big shots. We made our run back but they made more plays down the stretch. Basketball is a game of runs, the defense gave us the lead at the beginning but then we lowered our level of defense and they made a lot of 3’s.”

Justin Smith – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Justin Smith and Kevin Hervey scored at ease for Hapoel Holon to get the game rolling and go up by double digits but Speedy Smith and JaCorey Williams responded for Hapoel Jerusalem along with points from Or Cornelius to cut the purples lead to 29-21 by the end of the first quarter. Niv Misgav and Tahjere McCall went from deep as Yovel Zoosman, Speedy Smith and Chris Johnson kept the reds close, while Williams put in a 3-point play and then a dunk as the hosts clung to a 50-47 advantage at halftime.

Chris Johnson – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Netanel Artzi dialled up long distance to start off the third quarter, Johnson answered with a trio from the outside, Artzi went from deep once again, Drew Crawford dunked, but Speedy Smith nailed a pair from beyond the arc to hand Jerusalem a 73-69 lead after thirty minutes of action. McCall scored a trio of baskets to begin the fourth quarter, Zoosman came back with a corner 3-ball, Williams dunked and Smith went for a pair from deep, Crawford and Misgav tried to keep Holon in the game, but a Nimrod Levi put-back and Johnson deuce sealed the deal for Jerusalem as they took the win.

JaCorey Williams – Photo credit: Yehuda Halickman

Maccabi Ramat Gan just got by Hapoel Eilat 75-69 as the hosts needed a fourth quarter comeback to take the hard earned win. Jeremy Senglin had the hot hand early while JaJuan Johnson helped keep the visitors ahead throughout the opening thirty minutes, but strong play from captain Adam Ariel, Mangok Mathiang and Itay Moskovits brought Shmulik Brenner’s team all the way back to snatch the victory.

Ariel scored 15 points, Mathiang added 10 points and 15 rebounds while Moskovits scored 13 points in the win. Senglin scored 21 points and Johnson chipped in with 17 points in the loss.

Itay Moskovits – Photo credit: Guy Bitman

“It was a comeback win but we weren’t far off, however, we were not in control of the game,” Brenner said. “Usually we are in control when we are behind also. Eilat was very challenging but it was good for us as a team regardless of who could or couldn’t play. It’s a huge step for us today.”

The bench boss continued , “As for Adam Ariel, he wasn’t supposed to play and the medical team thought he shouldn’t and that’s why he didn’t start but he insisted to play. He sacrificed himself for the team. Mathiang and Omot want to be part of the team. It’s not easy finding foreign players who are very selfless. As for being in second place, it’s a blessing and as long as we maintain this position we can go far. My dream is that we will make the best of our potential. We have more that we can do.”

Adam Ariel – Photo credit: Guy Bitman

The MVP of the game Adam Ariel also spoke about the win, “Very important for us.We want to keep winning for our confidence. We had some missing players due to injury but we won this game. I’m happy we won. I try to bring what I can to the team. I am happy we did it. It’s nice to be second in the league but we don’t look at that too much. We are looking towards the next challenge. As for the new guys, they bring strength and energy. Credit to the club for bringing them in and they for sure give us an upgrade.”

Jeremy Senglin scored at will for Hapoel Eilat while Jajuan Johnson added points as well but Karam Mashour and Nuni Omot found the basket as well to even up the game at 17-17 after ten minutes of play. The Red Sea squad started hitting their shots from deep as Deishuan Booker, Art Zablin and a pair from Senglin, Yahel Melamed and Itay Moskovits also hit from downtown, but Amit Suss got busy for Jurica Golemac’s squad to help the visitors grab a 42-38 advantage at halftime.

Mangok Mathiang – Photo credit: Guy Bitman

Sacar Anim and Moskovits traded buckets to begin the third quarter, Ariel dropped a 4-point play and then a triple, Senglin and Koren Jorno countered, Moskovits went from downtown but Johnson’s dunk at the end of the period kept Eilat in front 62-60 after thirty minutes of action. Jordan Cohen, Omot and Mangok Mathiang scored to get the fourth quarter off and running, Johnson and Booker responded, finally after a multitude of missies by both teams Mathiang scored in the paint and Ariel added a layup to wrap up the tough victory.

Hapoel Galil Elyon stunned Bnei Herzliya 104-99 in overtime as 6 players scored in double digits including James Feldeine who dropped 32 points in the win.

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!