Basketball: Jerusalem desperate to snap losing streak against Haifa

Jerusalem is doing its best not to panic despite dropping to a fifth consecutive defeat over all competitions.

November 27, 2016 06:19
2 minute read.
Simone Pianigiani

Simone Pianigiani. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

After more than three weeks, Hapoel Jerusalem hopes to finally return to winning ways on Sunday night when it hosts Maccabi Haifa in BSL action.

Jerusalem is doing its best not to panic despite dropping to a fifth consecutive defeat over all competitions last Wednesday, losing 86-84 to Valencia in Eurocup action. Owner Ori Allon met with coach Simone Pianigiani following the defeat and assured him his job is safe.

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Jerusalem got the season off to a promising start, but two consecutive defeats in the Eurocup have seen it fall to 3-2 in Group D. Three straight losses in the BSL dropped Hapoel’s record in local league action to 3-4, just one game better than the worst record in the league and three games back of leader Maccabi Tel Aviv, which beat it last week.

However, with its place in the Eurocup Top 16 already all but secure and the BSL title not being decided until the Final Four tournament next June, Hapoel seems to be maintaining its cool, as well as its faith in coach Pianigiani. Jerusalem signed Dijon Thompson last week and Pianigiani is pushing to make further changes to the roster, with the Italian eager to replace Rafi Menco and Isaac Rosefelt, who have seen little action to date. Menco joined Hapoel Eilat on loan over the weekend.

“We played well for periods in our past two games and I don’t think we are in a crisis,” said Jerusalem captain Yotam Halperin. “We didn’t capitulate against Valencia and it was just another loss we need to learn from.”

Haifa, which also has a 3-4 record, had a far from ideal preparation for the game, with several of its players having to leave their homes due to the fires which engulfed the city last week.

On Saturday, reigning champion Maccabi Rishon Lezion combined two straight BSL wins for the first time this season, improving to 5-3 with an 84-77 victory over Maccabi Ashdod.

Patrick Richard led Rishon with 21 points, while Avi Ben-Shimol contributed 20 points and 11 assists. Daniel Ewing had 22 points for Ashdod, which fell to 3-5.

Hapoel Tel Aviv also improved to 5-3, defeating Ironi Nahariya 86-77.

Richard Howell led Hapoel with 22 points and 11 rebounds, with Yancy Gates and Gilbert Brown scoring 17 points each for Nahariya which dropped to 3-5.

On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Kiryat Gat, Hapoel Eilat visits Hapoel Holon and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil welcomes Bnei Herzliya.

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