Jerusalem gets BSL campaign off to a winning start against Herzliya
Hapoel Jerusalem guard Bar Timor
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Herzliya never came close to mounting a comeback and Hapoel cruised to what it hopes will be the first of many comfortable wins this season.
Hapoel Jerusalem opened the BSL regular season in impressive fashion on Saturday night, easily beating Bnei Herzliya 81-61 to build on its promising pre-season form.Jerusalem convincingly defeated Maccabi Tel Aviv to win the pre-season Winner Cup and brushed Hapoel Migdal Haemek aside with a 37-point victory in the first round of the State Cup last week. The hosts took a 45-31 lead into the break at the Jerusalem Arena on Saturday and maintained a double- digit cushion throughout the second half.Bar Timor led five Jerusalem players in double figures with 19 points, with Yotam Halperin and Travis Peterson scoring 14 points each, while Lior Eliyahu and Jerome Dyson added 12.Amar’e Stoudemire played a team-high 26 minutes, but finished with just three points after missing all three of his field-goal attempts, adding six rebounds and three blocks. “We are a good team and we are gelling,” said Timor. “We are working very hard and are learning every day. We have players that have played at the highest level, but everyone is listening to the coach and that is what has made us a good team so far.”Halil Kanacevic finished with 14 points for Herzliya. The visitors scored the first points of the night, but wouldn’t hold on to the lead for long. A Peterson three-pointer gave Jerusalem a 27-19 advantage after the first period, a gap the hosts extended to 14 points by the interval after hitting 7-of-9 three-point attempts.Herzliya never came close to mounting a comeback and Hapoel cruised to what it hopes will be the first of many comfortable wins this season.Maccabi Tel Aviv opens its BSL campaign on Sunday when it visits Ironi Nahariya. Maccabi is coming off two consecutive painful pre-season defeats, falling to Jerusalem in the Winner Cup final before losing to David Blatt’s Darussafaka at Yad Eliyahu Arena.Maccabi lost forward Sonny Weems for 3-4 weeks due to a tear in his calf suffered in the defeat to Darussafaka, but will welcome back Andrew Goudelock, who missed all but one of the team’s pre-season games with a thigh injury.Tel Aviv thrashed Nahariya by 30 points in the semifinals of the Winner Cup 10 days ago, but Nahariya has picked up some much-needed confidence since, advancing to the group stage of the FIBA Champions League last Thursday.Three more games will take place on Monday. Reigning champion Maccabi Rishon Lezion begins its title defense against Hapoel Eilat, Maccabi Ashdod welcomes Maccabi Kiryat Gat and Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil visits Hapoel Holon.Maccabi Haifa’s game against Hapoel Tel Aviv was postponed to October 19, with Haifa currently in the US preparing for Monday’s encounter against the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.