Moran Rot 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem has fallen to its fair share of embarrassing defeats this
season, but none were quite as belittling as Monday night’s 86-80 BSL loss to
Hapoel Holon at Malha Arena.
Facing financial meltdown, Holon released
Americans Robert Hite and Eric Campbell in recent days and may very well have to
part ways with coach Danny Franco and several other star players in the coming
However, the visitors surged into a significant lead right from the
start of Monday’s game and maintained it until the final whistle, holding off a
late Jerusalem comeback.
With all the recent roster cuts, Franco used
just seven players in his rotation until the final minute, playing youth forward
Niv Solomon in the closing stages after three of his players had fouled
But despite all its difficulties, Holon somehow pulled out the win
against a painfully poor Jerusalem team.
“No one can understand what we
have been through in the past week,” said Holon playmaker Moran Rot, who led his
team with 18 points and six assists, orchestrating his side’s play to
“This win is against all the rules. This is what makes
basketball such a beautiful game. There is something in the soul of this team
that never dies.”
Rich Melzer and Kasib Powell added 15 points each for
Holon, which has won two straight games.
Will Solomon had 29 points and
10 rebounds for Jerusalem, which lost its second successive contest to continue
its dismal season.
Holon got off to a flying start, with a Melzer basket
opening an early doubledigit margin (15-4).
Hapoel looked completely
lost, especially on the offensive end, scoring just six points in the first
seven minutes of the game.
Two more points by Melzer opened a 20-6 margin
with just under three minutes to play in the first quarter and Holon had a
surprising 26-11 lead after 10 minutes following Nir Cohen’s tip-in.
so few players at his disposal, Franco was forced to use subs he rarely called
upon earlier this season, but they didn’t disappoint.
Ido Stolero, who
had scored a total of three points in 29 minutes on court so far this season,
was given his chance and his three-pointer extended the margin to
A Powell basket gave the visitors a record 21-point cushion
(42-21) and Holon had a comfortable 18-point lead (47-29) at the
Jerusalem began the second half with a 9-2 run, capped by a Dion
Dowell triple, to close on Holon.
But Nir Cohen stemmed the tide with two
points off his own missed free-throw and the visitors were still in control with
10 minutes to play, leading 61-52.
A Solomon three to start the fourth
frame gave the local fans some hope and the hosts soon closed to within one
However, Holon never panicked and Amit Ben-David’s
triple opened a 73-64 advantage before Stolero clinched the win with another
basket from beyond the arc with two minutes to play (80-68).
Barak Netanya hosts Tzvika Sherf’s Spartak St. Petersburg in Group I of the
EuroChallenge, while Maccabi Haifa visits Lukoil Academic Sofia in Bulgaria.