Oded Katash's debut as Hapoel Jerusalem coach could have hardly gone any worse, with the reigning BSL champion losing 78-66 at home to rock-bottom Bnei Herzliya.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Any illusion that the arrival of Oded Katash would magically solve all of Hapoel Jerusalem’s problems was quickly dispelled with a humbling 78-66 home defeat to Bnei Herzliya on Sunday night, while Hapoel Holon made the most of another Maccabi Tel Aviv slip-up to move tied with the yellow-and-blue at the summit of the standings.
Jerusalem fell to an 11-7 record, but far more discouraging was the manner of its defeat to an Herzliya side that remains in last place in the standings at 6-12 despite the victory.
Katash said he believes the team can still defend its BSL title when he was introduced as Hapoel’s new head coach last week, replacing Mody Maor.
His statement was made to look ridiculous on Sunday, with Jerusalem losing for the fifth time in six games over all competitions ahead of a visit to Maccabi Tel Aviv at Yad Eliyahu Arena in its next encounter next Sunday.
Jeff Adrien had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Herzliya, with Shawn Dawson also scoring 18 points.
Jerome Dyson netted 22 points for Jerusalem, which committed 20 turnovers.
“We didn’t play well enough and we have to prove ourselves,” admitted Katash. “We need to stay positive and we have to stay the course so that we will arrive to the place we are aiming for.
We saw tonight that it won’t be easy, but we will get there.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv looked comfortable enough when it led Ironi Ness Ziona by eight points at the break (43-35). But Ness Ziona opened the second half with a 12-2 run and wouldn’t relinquish the lead.
Khalif Wyatt led Ness Ziona with 23 points, with John DiBartolomeo scoring 18 for Maccabi, which visits Efes Istanbul in a crucial Euroleague game on Thursday.
“Lately we are playing very bad basketball and it looks like we have some crisis,” admitted Maccabi coach Neven Spahija. “But it is not the time to cry. We have to go through this situation and try to find the way out.”
T.J. Cline and Joe Alexander led six Hapoel Holon players in double figures with 16 points in Sunday’s 105-88 victory over Maccabi Ashdod.
Holon, which won for the sixth time in seven games, moved tied at 14-4 with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Elsewhere Sunday, Maccabi Haifa claimed its second straight win, beating Hapoel Tel Aviv 82-77.
Trevor Gaskins scored 17 points on his debut for Haifa, which moved to 6-12. Jerel McNeal had 16 points for Hapoel, which fell to 9-9.