Hapoel Jerusalem players.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
One of the BSL’s most heated rivalries registers its latest chapter on Sunday night when Hapoel Holon hosts Hapoel Jerusalem.
Such is the animosity between both sets of supporters that violence often erupts when Holon and Jerusalem meet.
The most memorable and horrific incident occurred in November 2007 when security guard Yoav Glitzenstein lost two of his fingers after a fire-cracker thrown onto the Malha Arena floor by a Holon fan exploded in his hand.
The atmosphere during their clashes never disappoints, but many of their recent affairs have been one-sided, with Jerusalem winning the last five meetings by an average 19.6 points. Holon’s last regular season victory over Jerusalem came back in December 2014, but it enters Sunday’s game brimming with confidence after opening the season with three wins in four contests.
Holon improved to 3-1 with last Sunday’s 84-66 conquest of Maccabi Ashdod and its only defeat came against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Jerusalem also has a 3-1 record, with the loss to Hapoel Gilboa/Galil its only setback over all competitions this season, with Simone Pianigiani’s team opening its Eurocup campaign with three consecutive victories.
“This game against Holon is challenging for two reasons,” said Pianigiani. “The first being that this is a good team that has the same record as we do. The second is our need to prove that we can make the right adjustments from the Eurocup to the BSL. I know that the rivalry between the clubs is very important to the fans so we will need to maintain our composure throughout the game.”
On Saturday, Shawn Dawson scored the go-ahead basket for Maccabi Rishon Lezion in its 75-73 win over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. Dawson, who was playing in the BSL for the first time this season after failing to realize his NBA dream, scored six of his nine points in the final four minutes during Rishon’s 12-2 run to end the game. Charles Thomas led Rishon with 15 points, while Ezequiel Skverer scored 21 points for Gilboa, which fell to 2-3.
On Sunday, Maccabi Haifa hosts Ironi Nahariya and Bnei Herzliya visits Hapoel Tel Aviv.
On Monday, the undefeated Maccabi Tel Aviv goes to Maccabi Ashdod and Hapoel Eilat welcomes Maccabi Kiryat Gat.