311_Hapoel Jerusalem baskteball.
(photo credit: FIBA EUROPE website)
Hapoel Jerusalem got its BSL campaign off to the worst possible start on Monday,
losing 81-76 to Bnei Hasharon in Herzliya.
After failing to make the BSL
final in the past three seasons, Jerusalem brought in coach Oded Katash and
overhauled its roster in the hope of challenging Maccabi Tel Aviv for the
championship. However, Monday’s performance was anything put impressive and left
Katash with plenty to ponder ahead of the rest of the season.
“We had the
momentum, but it just wasn’t our night,” Katash said. “We are still in the
beginning of the road and know we have plenty of work to do. We are focusing on
Bnei Hasharon’s victory was especially impressive as it had
to manage without the injured Lee Nailon and Sharon Sasson.
play our best basketball, but it is nice that we still managed to win,” coach
Dan Shamir said.
Filberto Rivera led the hosts with 19 points, with Shawn
James adding 17 points and 14 rebounds. Ben Rice also scored 17 for Bnei
Hasharon, which won despite shooting just two of 24 from three-point
Brian Randle had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Jerusalem, with
Yuval Naimi scoring 19.
Also Monday, Maccabi Ashdod beat Ironi Ashkelon
79-69 and Maccabi Haifa defeated Hapoel Holon 84-81.
In Herzliya, Bnei
Hasharon began the game brightly, opening an early 12-3 margin.
however, would come right back, and was down by just one point (21-20) after 10
Jerusalem was struggling offensively, but fortunately for
Katash, Randle was keeping his team in the game, scoring 17 points in the first
half, which ended with the hosts still holding a small lead
After a tight start to the half, Hapoel opened a nine-point gap
(59-50) towards the end of the period, only for Bnei Hasharon to score the final
five points of the quarter.
Nothing could separate the teams in the first
seven minutes of the fourth frame, with Naimi’s basket tying the score at 68- 68
with just over three minutes to play.
However, Shamir’s men would score
the next five points and would hold on for a victory over a favored Jerusalem
In Rishon, where Holon will be hosting its home games until its
arena is approved, Hapoel got off to the better start and had a five point edge
(22-17) after 10 minutes.
A Kasib Powell basket increased Holon’s lead to
double-figures (35-24), but Haifa scored 12 of the final 16 points of the first
half and was down by just a single point (41-40) at the break.
momentum was well and truly on Haifa’s side at the start of the second half,
with Elad Hasin’s men going on a 16-0 run during the third period and outscoring
the hosts 29-10 in the quarter to take a commanding 18-point gap (69-51) into
the final 10 minutes.
However, Holon never gave up the chase and Moran
Rot’s three-pointer with less than two minutes to go brought the hosts within
two points (79-77).
Dror Davidi and Robert Hite had chances to tie the
game in the closing seconds, but they both missed from beyond the arc and Haifa
held on for the confidence-building win.
Marco Killingsworth scored 16
points for the winners, with Avi Ben-Shimol and Larry O’Bannon adding 13. Rot
led Holon with 21, while Rich Melzer contributed 17 points and 10
In Ashdod, the newcomers got off to a nervous start and found
themselves in a 14-point deficit (19-5) midway through the first
The hosts came back to take a 30-29 advantage halfway through the
second quarter, but scored just two points in the final four minutes of the
half, allowing Ashkelon to lead by seven at the interval (39-32).
didn’t need long to tie the score and had a five-point edge (58-53) entering the
final period. The visitors kept fighting but clutch points by Meir Tapiro
ensured Ashdod got its first BSL campaign off to a dream start.
Carter led Ashdod with 23 points, with Ramel Bradley adding 12.
Pickett and Thomas Terrell had 17 points each for Ashkelon.