Yancy Gates .
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Bnei Herzliya in BSL action on Sunday night, still flying high from its historic derby win over Maccabi Tel Aviv last week.
Hapoel beat the yellow-and-blue on the road for the first time in 22 years, claiming one of its biggest-ever wins over its arch-rival with a 20-point (78-58) triumph.
The reds dominated proceedings from start to finish and their frustrating start to the season now seems like a distant memory.
Hapoel lost three of its first four games, dropping to 1-3 after a 24-point humbling at the hands of Maccabi Haifa late last month. A change was required and new coach Oded Katash decided to replace the young Rion Brown with a familiar name.
Hapoel signed Larry O’Bannon, who played for Katash at Hapoel Eilat two seasons ago, and was released by Maccabi Rishon Lezion last month after just three games with the team. The 31-year-old guard has played on and off in Israel since the 2008/09 season, at Rishon, Maccabi Haifa and Eilat.
O’Bannon didn’t need long to settle at Hapoel, experiencing his best-ever game in Israel on his debut for the reds, finishing last week’s derby with BSL careerhighs of 29 points and 13 rebounds.
To cap a memorable week, Hapoel also announced that it will enter its new arena at the former site of the Tel Aviv drive-in at the beginning of next year, with its first game at its new home to be against Hapoel Jerusalem on January 4.
Herzliya (2-4) will enter Sunday’s game looking to rebound from last week’s 31-point loss to Hapoel Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, which has won its six games so far by an average margin of 22.3 points per game, can move to 7-0 for the first time in club history when it hosts Maccabi Ashdod (1-5).
Also Sunday, Maccabi Rishon Lezion (5-1), which is off to its best start in 19 years, visits Ironi Nahariya (1-5), while Ironi Ness Ziona (5-1) travels to Hapoel Eilat (1-5), which has lost five consecutive games for the first time in club history.
On Monday, Maccabi Tel Aviv (4-2) goes to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (2-4) while Hapoel Holon (3-3) welcomes Maccabi Haifa (3-3).