Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Rami Hadar.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Coach Rami Hadar’s encouraging start at Hapoel Tel Aviv has become a distant memory after the team dropped to its third defeat in four BSL games on Monday night, losing 86-81 at Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
Hadar was appointed as Hapoel’s coach last month, less than three weeks after he resigned from his job as the head coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv.
He became the first coach to hold both positions in the same season and got life at Hapoel off to a promising beginning with two consecutive victories.
However, a defeat at his former team Maccabi was followed by a loss to Bnei Herzliya, and Hapoel couldn’t build on last week’s victory over rock-bottom Maccabi Kiryat Gat, falling to a Gilboa team which missed 17 free-throw attempts (61%).
Hapoel dropped to a 9-9 record, returning to .500 for the first time since coach Sharon Avrahami was sacked with the team at 6-6.
Murphy Holloway and Eric Griffin both finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for Gilboa, which improved to 7-11 and moved four games clear of Maccabi Kiryat Gat and the relegation zone.
Mark Lyons and Richard Howell scored 17 points each for Tel Aviv, which doesn’t play next until February 19 when it hosts Ironi Nahariya.
Hapoel’s hopes of fighting for a topfour finish and home-court advantage in the quarterfinal playoffs suffered another blow with Herzliya’s 80-79 win at Kiryat Gat. Herzliya improved to 11-6 after surviving a tight finish.
Kiryat Gat’s Justin Carter only hit one of two free-throw attempts with seven seconds to play and Taurean Green won the game for the visitors from the line, sinking his first shot with 2.2 seconds remaining before missing the second intentionally.
Green led his team with 19 points, with Karam Mashour registering another double-double with 12 points and 12 boards.
Brandon Bowman netted 30 points for Kiryat Gat, which fell to 3-15.
Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa improved to 8-10, beating Maccabi Ashdod 72-59. Gregory Vargas scored 21 points for the Greens, with Yiftach Ziv netting 11 points for Ashdod, which fell to 5-13 and enters next week’s State Cup semifinal against Maccabi Tel Aviv in dismal form.
“This was a disgrace,” said Ashdod coach Meir Tapiro. “This was a very important home game for us and we all need to look ourselves in the mirror after this defeat.”
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