Jerusalem moves to 3-1 in BCL play after eliminating Holon from Final 8 contention

Mar 7, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Jerusalem downed Hapoel Holon 77-65 as Speedy Smith showed why he’s one of the best point guards in the country. With stellar defense, 26 points and a killer instinct, Smith made sure to not only neutralize Joe Ragland but also score in bundles throughout the game and when it counted most down the stretch to put the purples away.

The victory moved Jerusalem’s record to 3-1 in Basketball Champions League Round of 16 group stage action while Holon dropped to 0-4 and were eliminated from advancing to the Final 8 with two home games to go.

Aleksandar Dzikic and Brandon Brown – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Smith and Brandon Brown and Or Cornelius were hot from the get go giving Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad a 35-16 lead midway through the second quarter but Shawn Dawson, Chris Johnson and Joe Ragland pulled Guy Goodes’s team to within 41-38 by halftime. However, Zach Hankins, Oz Blayzer and Smith put the hammer down in the final frame to take the win.

Speedy Smith – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Smith scored 26 points, Levi Randolph added 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists, Hankins recorded a double-double scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Brown scored 11 points in the win. Dawson paced Holon with 20 points, Ragland added 16 points and Johnson scored 14 points in the loss.

Aleksandar Dzikic – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“The game was exactly what we were expecting,” Dzikic began. “We started well but we knew they would come back because they are good. We spent a lot of energy to get that big lead and when the bench guys don’t give that energy we let them come back. We will take the W, rest and get ready for the next game.”

“Congrats to Jerusalem on the win and they showed their strength as a team and had a deep roster,” Goodes said. “We suffered from the same things we had in the league, short rotation, bad 3-point percentage and they deserved the win.”

Or Cornelius – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Or Cornelius reflected on the game, “It was a tough game and Holon is a very good team when they play their game and when they are comfortable they can play their game easily. We pressured Ragland and the guards. We had the lead, made mistakes but came through with the win.”

Shawn Dawson – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Shawn Dawson looked back at the contest, “We came into the game knowing how important it was after losing the first three games, but Jerusalem controlled the game. We fought and came back a few times but it wasn’t enough.”

Speedy Smith – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Speedy Smith scored a pair from deep while Or Cornelius also found nothing but net to give Hapoel Jerusalem a quick 9-0 lead Shawn Dawson came back with 7 points of his own, but Brandon Brown hit a pair from downtown plus a deuce to give the reds a 24-13 lead after ten minutes.

Cornelius again dialled up long distance, Zach Hankins dunked, Smith hit a pair of midrange, but Chris Johnson, Joe Ragland, Dawson and Hayden Dalton with two late buckets cut the lead down to 41-38 at halftime.

Speedy Smith and Zach Hankins – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Smith was up to his old tricks to get the third quarter underway with points from beyond arc, as did Oz Blayzer and Brown to give Aleksandar Dzikic’s squad a 63-49 advantage after thirty minutes of play.

Chris Johnson and Shawn Dawson – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Dawson, Johnson and Ragland started to eat into the Jerusalem lead, Smith kept finding the basket, but a layup by Dawson and a Marvin Jones dunk pulled Guy Goodes’s team to 69-64 with 3:59 remaining in regulation time. Smith drilled home a triple and then hit a trio of free throws while Randolph scored as well to polish off the game.

Levi Randolph – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

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