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Hapoel shows that they’re #1 in 94-85 win

A massive game by Donta Smith helped Hapoel Jerusalem to a big win as the Reds claimed sole possession of first place.

Dov Halickman Photography

Devin Smith’s 29 points (7/9 from 3-pointers) were outshone by Donta’s incredible 22/14/9 performance, only one assist shy of a triple-double as Josh Duncan and Lior Eliyahu chipped in with 16 points a piece against an overmatched Yellow-and-Blue side. Maccabi had trouble from the line all night going 6/17 from the charity stripe and had a 20-point contribution by Sylven Landesberg as they slipped into second place overall.

The first quarter featured an old fashioned Texas shoot out between Maccabj’s Devin Smith and Hapoel’s Donta Smith as both stars drained their opportunities at will. Devin Smith knocked down three 3-pointers from the right hand corner, however each basket was answered by the Reds number 15 leading all first frame scorers with ten points. Taylor Rochestie dished out six assists in a very active quarter for the point guard as very little defense was seen anywheres in Jerusalem as the quarter ended tied at 28 a piece.

The high octane offense continued to drive the game especially for the Hapoel as they finished off the second quarter with a 5-point lead, 52-47. Matt Janning turned the shooting on for the Reds, scoring 7-points in the frame while Devin Smith’s 6-points helped him finish the half tied with Donta at 15-points a piece, however the Jerusalem star also collected 7 rebounds and handed out four assists after 20 minutes of play.

As the second half got underway both teams decided it was time to buckle down on defense, but Sylven Landesberg found a way to put his Maccabi side ahead 62-61 with two straight 3-pointers. However, Hapoel with the help of Josh Duncan went on an 10-3 run to pull ahead at the end of the 3rd quarter 71-65.

Hapoel continued with its late 3rd quarter play right into the 4th as EJ Rowland scored 5-points to help the home team to a 12-7 run in the first 5+ minutes of the frame. But Maccabi marched back with an 11-5 run of their own to cut the lead to 86:80 with 1:32 left in the game but Lior Eliyahu’s back to back buckets put the game out of reach against his ex-team sending the Red crowd into a frenzy with a 94-85 win.

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