Hapoel Jerusalem guard Yogev Ohayon returned from injury last night, playing 13 minutes and scoring two points in his team’s BSL win over Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Jerusalem made it two straight wins to start the BSL season on Saturday night, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 90-85 on banner night at the Jerusalem Arena.
The 2016/17 championship banner was raised to the rafters of the arena ahead of Hapoel’s first home game of the campaign, but the hosts got off to a poor start and had to erase a double- digit deficit to claim the win.
After suffering an 86-72 defeat at Lietkabelis Panevezys of Lithuania in its Eurocup opener last Wednesday, Jerusalem coach Fotis Katsikaris was desperate for an encouraging performance.
He got the exact opposite in the first 10 minutes, with Rishon holding a nine-point lead (23-14) at the end of the opening period. Jerusalem would bounce back though, trailing by two points (43-41) at the interval and surging ahead by outscoring the visitors 28-13 in the third quarter.
Austin Daye had 19 points for Jerusalem, with Yotam Halperin adding 13.
Mark Tollefsen scored 19 for Rishon.
Jerusalem hosts Buducnost in Eurocup action on Tuesday.
“We had to react,” said Katsikaris after the win. “We started very badly, with no energy and let them score easy baskets. It is normal that you are nervous in your first official game at home, but we reacted well in the second half. I can take some very positive things from this game.”
Halperin stressed that the key for the team will be to remain patient.
“I don’t think we were good enough tonight and we should have found a way to finish the game earlier,” he said. “But we are only in the beginning of the season and this is how things go. It can never be easy in the beginning. It is completely normal that this is the situation with the team having a new system and a new coach.
It is very important for us to continue and improve.”
Also Saturday, Ironi Nahariya beat Hapoel Tel Aviv 102-87.
On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Bnei Herzliya and Hapoel Eilat visits Hapoel Holon. On Monday, Ironi Ness Ziona welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.