Jerusalem mounts second half comeback to top Gilboa, Nes Ziona + Rishon win

Hapoel Jerusalem rallied to defeat Gilboa Galil 99-94 as Tamir Blatt scored a career high 24 points and assistant coach Daniel Lutz recorded his first win substituting for interim head coach Yonatan Alon who was ejected near the end of the second quarter. Visiting Gilboa took a 47-39 lead into halftime, but the Reds came out in the second half like a house on fire to take the victory.

Blatt led all scorers with 24 points and 9 assists, Suleiman Braimoh added 15 points and Adam Ariel scored 14 points in the win. Kerry Blackshear scored 20 points while Isaiah Cousins and Joe Thomasson each added 19 points in the defeat.

Daniel Lutz – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“It was a tough game and you could really feel the energy,” Jerusalem coach Alon said following the game. “I’m happy that the team was able to react after I was ejected and Daniel (Lutz) did a good job. We raised the level of our intensity and our defense has improved.”

Avishay Gordon – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

“We prepared well and we played a good first half,” Gilboa coach Avishay Gordon said. “But when you give up 60 points in the second half we didn’t play our game and it’s a good test for what will be for the playoffs. The fans, referees and the like, we will all have to deal with this.”

Hapoel Jerusalem – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Jerusalem captain Tashawn Thomas reflected on the win, “We fought. First time at home in a long time. It was good that we had our fans together with us. We stood together and we are trying to change the season around, we know where we want to be.”

Kerry Blackshear – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Hapoel Gilboa Galil got off to a quick start on points by Kerry Blackshear and Joe Thomasson but Tamir Blatt and Adam Ariel scored 3-pointers to give Hapoel Jerusalem a 12-10 lead midway through the first quarter. Netanel Artzi drilled home a pair of triples while Isaiah Cousins hit a jumper to give the visitors a lead as Ariel nailed another 3-pointer to keep Yonatan Alon’s team close down 23-21 after ten minutes.

Tamir Blatt – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Tashawn Thomas began finding the bottom of the basket and Blatt dialled up long distance and Stanton Kidd found points to give Jerusalem a 31-29 advantage with 5:06 left in the second quarter. Blackshear and Jehvye Floyd scored in the paint and Amit Gershon added points but Kidd, Ray McCallum kept the game close with Gilboa ahead 40-39 with 1:33 left in the half.

Yonatan Alon – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Team manager David Bassan received a technical which was followed by an automatic ejection for coach Alon leaving assistant coach Daniel Lutz in charge of the Reds. Avishay Gordon’s team drained a trio of free throws by Blackshear and a last second triple by Cousins to give the visitors a 47-39 lead.

Joe Thomasson – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

Iftach Ziv, Artzi and Thomasson opened the third quarter with points Blackshear drilled home a 3-pointer and points inside as Thomas, Blatt and Ariel tried to keep Jerusalem close but Gilboa stayed in front 62-53 midway through the frame. Cousins hit a pair of triples but Ariel, Blatt and Idan Zalmanson kept scoring to tie the game up at 69-69 after thirty minutes of action.

Ray McCallum – Photo Credit: Dov Halickman

A Braimoh dunk, points by Zalmanson and a corner 3-ball by McCallum got the fourth quarter underway as Jerusalem started to pull away 81-71 with 6:03 left in the period. McCallum kept scoring at will but Cousins from the outside, Blackshear from the inside and Thomasson went from beyond the arc to cut the Reds advantage to 85-81 with 3:48 remaining in regulation time. Blatt and Gershon traded triples, Cousins drained a pair as well but McCallum matched him at the other end and Blatt scored his free throws to take the win.

Hapoel Tel Aviv got by Maccabi Haifa 92-88 as Israeli rising star Yam Madar scored a season high 27-points in the win. The Reds and Greens played a tight contest throughout the 40 minutes but Danny Franco’s squad was able to come out on top with the victory. Along with Madar, Tyrique Jones scored 22 points and JP Tokoto added 20 points and 8 assists. Chris Dowe led Haifa with 24 points and 10 rebounds, Kalin Lucas scored 16 points and Michael Cobbins added 14 points in the loss.

Nes Ziona drubbed Hapoel Beer Sheva 107-82 in the desert city in a game that was never close as the visitors took a 60-39 lead into halftime and never looked back. Braian Angola led all scorers with 28 points for Brad Greenberg’s team, Wayne Selden added 26 points and Jerome Meyinsse scored 21 points in the win. Caleb Agada scored 24 points to lead Rami Hadar’s squad while Spencer Weisz scored 18 points in the loss.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion needed a late game comeback to top Nahariya 88-80 by the northern border. The hosts led through three quarters but were outscored in the final frame 30-16 as Rishon Le’ZIon snatched the victory to stay in playoff contention. Akil Mitchell scared 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Guy Goodes’s squad, Darryl Monroe added 16 points and Jeremy Pargo chipped in with 15 points in the win. Jaron Blossomgame scored 19 points and Malik Newman added 17 points in the loss.

Nahariya were officially relegated to the second division after falling to Bnei Herzliya 97-85. Max Heidegger led the way with 23 points, Elijah Thomas added 21 points and Coty Clarke scored 20 points in the win. Jaron Blossomgame scored 30 points and Malik Newman added 25 points for Nahariya as they head to the Leumit League for next season.

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