Hapoel Jerusalem coach Danny Franco.
(photo credit: DANI MARON/MAARIV)
Hapoel Jerusalem fell to a humbling 101-78 defeat to Maccabi Kiryat Gat on Monday night, turning up the heat on under-fire coach Danny Franco.
Jerusalem released pressure last week with its first win in three weeks after beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 72-67, but it returned to losing ways on Monday, being outplayed by one of the weakest teams in the league.
Jerusalem lost for the seventh time in its past nine games over all competitions, dropping to 15-6, tied with Maccabi Tel Aviv for the best record in the BSL.
Marco Killingsworth led five Kiryat Gat players in double figures with 27 points and eight rebounds. Kiryat Gat improved to 7-14, tied with Hapoel Holon and Ironi Ness Ziona for the worst record in the league.
“This is unbelievable,” said Kiryat Gat coach Nati Cohen.
“This is one of the biggest wins of my career and I’m so proud of my players.”
E.J. Rowland had 18 points for Jerusalem.
“From the first second of the game we weren’t aggressive enough,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco. “This is very disappointing and we certainly didn’t want to see a performance like this. The coach is always to blame and it is my job to ensure we don’t play like this. We have to play better than this. No one will give us anything for free and we have to fight for every win.”
Also Monday, Bnei Herzliya beat Maccabi Ashdod 101-93.
In other basketball news, Maccabi Rishon Lezion announced on Monday that Sharon Drucker will continue as coach. Drucker and the club’s ownership had fallen out earlier this season due to differences regarding the roster and the coach was rumored to be considering resigning. However, following a meeting between the sides on Monday the club released a statement saying all parties are focused on the remainder of the team’s season.
Women’s league threatens to strike The chairman of the women’s basketball Premier League, Iris Stark, sent a letter to Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev on Monday threatening to suspend top flight games due to financial difficulties.
Stark complained that the league hasn’t received the NIS 2.4 million it was promised by the Ministry via Athena, Israel’s project for the promotion of women’s sports in Israel.
Stark said that if the league doesn’t receive money over the next 48 hours it will have to call a strike.
The Director General of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, Yossi Sharabi, said that NIS 600,000 will be transferred to the league immediately, with a similar amount to be handed to the league later this season.