Holon closes on summit with comfortable Herzliya conquest

Holon improved to a 10-4 record, making the most of the surprise home losses suffered by Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday.

January 22, 2018 00:08
2 minute read.
Hapoel Holon forward Glen Rice Jr.

Hapoel Holon forward Glen Rice Jr. scored a team-high 18 points in last night’s 91-77 win over Bnei Herzliya, while also punting the ball into the stands in a moment of madness in the second quarter.. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)

Hapoel Holon moved tied with Hapoel Jerusalem for the second-best record in the BSL and to within a single game of leader Maccabi Tel Aviv after returning to winning ways on Sunday night with a 91-77 victory over Bnei Herzliya.

Holon improved to a 10-4 record, making the most of the surprise home losses suffered by Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem on Saturday.

Maccabi was beaten 94-91 by Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, while Jerusalem lost 89-85 to Hapoel Tel Aviv after squandering a 19-point lead in the second half.

Holon was far from its best against one of the league’s weakest sides, but did enough to get back on track after losing by 15 points at Hapoel Eilat last week before squandering a 20-point advantage to suffer a home defeat to Pinar Karsiyaka of Turkey in the FIBA Champions League.

“We entered this game on the back of a bad week,” said Holon coach Dan Shamir.

“We lost by 15 points last week and squandered a big lead in Europe so we really needed this win.”

Glen Rice Jr. led five Holon players in double figures with 18 points, and was also responsible for one of the season’s most bizarre moments.

During the second quarter, Rice punted the ball deep into the stands after being frustrated by an officiating call. Rice received an unsportsmanlike foul, but wasn’t ejected and Holon never lost control in the second half.

“It comes from a good place,” was how Shamir explained Rice’s moment of madness. “He really wants to win and plays hard in every game. But he needs to control himself in situations like that.”

Guy Pnini added 16 points for the winners.

“We played well as a team and we returned to being the happy Holon unlike what we showed in the past week,” noted Pnini. “This is how a big team should react.”

Jeff Adrien had 22 points for Herzliya, which dropped to a league-worse 3-11 record.

“I’m upset that we prepare so long and so well for a game and then we play defense like this,” said Herzliya coach Arik Shivek.

BSL action continues with three games on Monday.

Maccabi Haifa (4-9) aims to snap a four-game losing streak when it visits Ironi Ness Ziona (4-9). “We understand our situation and we know we need to change it now,” said Haifa forward Oz Blayzer.

Hapoel Eilat (6-7) will try and build on its recent improved form when it visits Ironi Nahariya (5-8). Eilat has lost just once in its past five games, falling to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi Ashdod (6-7) goes for its fourth straight win when it visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion (6-7).

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