Sports Shorts

There were wins for Hapoel Jerusalem and Ironi Ashkelon in local basketball action last night. Fifth-place Jerusalem improved its chances of making the end-of-season Final Four with a home win over third-placed Hapoel Eilat, 85-79. Jacob Pullen scored 20 points for the home team and Raviv Limonad added 19. Eilat's Scotty Hopson was the game's top scorer with 23 points. Ashkelon, meanwhile, heaped more misery on struggling Gilboa/Galil, winning 82-69. With just three wins in 11 games this season, Gilboa/Galil is languishing in next-to-last place. Marcus Dove scored 25 points for Ashkelon. (Haaretz Sports Staff )

Beitar Jerusalem extended its unbeaten streak to five games last night with a 1-1 draw against high-flying Ashdod at the Teddy Stadium. Chen Azriel opened the scoring for Beitar in the 51st minute, only for Ashdod's Nir Biton to level with 10 minutes to go. The point lifted Ashdod into third place in the table, while Beitar remains in eighth place. (Haaretz Sports Staff )

The Israel Basketball Association yesterday fined Hapoel Tel Aviv a NIS 30,000 and ordered it to play its next home game at least 50 kilometers from its home arena as punishment for its fans' rowdy behavior during a recent game against Barak Netanya. In addition, Hapoel was ordered to close the first three rows of its bleachers for the rest of the season. A team spokesman said an appeal would be filed in the next few days. (Arie Livnat )

Shahar Peer's preparations for the Australian Open suffered a setback yesterday when the Israeli tennis star was beaten in the first round of the Shenzhen Open in China. Peer, who is not seeded for the tournament, was beaten in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 by Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Peer, who ended 2010 as 13th in world rankings and last year in 37th place, will be way down in 74th when the final rankings for 2012 are published. (Haaretz Sports Staff )