(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barak Netanya continued its remarkable start to the BSL season on Monday night,
beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 70-62 to improve to 5-0 with another display of
Despite finding itself in a double-digit hole after being
outscored 17-0 in the first five minutes of the second quarter, Netanya dug deep
and held Rishon to a measly six points in the next 14 minutes to build a cushion
it would not relinquish.
“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Netanya coach
Danny Franco. “We are at 5-0 so we must be doing something right. We were given
a real fight by Rishon, but our team knows how to scrape wins by the skin of its
Netanya had a five-point edge (15-10) after 10 minutes, but the
hosts were blitzed by Rishon in the first half of the second period, with Effi
Birenboim’s men going on a 17-0 run to open a 12- point gap (27-15).
Netanya chipped at the lead as the first half drew to a close, with Deron
Washington’s basket to end the period bringing the hosts within a single point
The momentum remained on Netanya’s side in the second half, with
a Washington three-pointer opening a 45-33 margin.
Netanya had a 13-point
lead (49-36) with 10 minutes to play, but after scoring just six points in 14
minutes, Rishon finally came alive and Nitzan Hanochi’s three closed the gap to
However, Rishon would come no closer, falling to a second straight
defeat after upsetting Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Marco Killingsworth had 16
points and 12 rebounds for Netanya, with Washington adding 16 points and 11
Eyal Shulman also shined for the hosts with 13 points, while
Julian Wright scored 15 for Rishon.
Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa improved
to 3-2, snapping Hapoel Tel Aviv’s three-game winning streak with an 88-52 road
Haifa stormed to a 19-2 lead and Hapoel came no closer than 11
points until the end of the night.
James Thomas led five Haifa players in
double figures with 19 points and 12 rebounds, with Paul Stoll adding 16
Curtis Kelly scored 13 for Hapoel.
“This was our best game
of the year by far,” said Haifa’s American coach Brad Greenberg. “Playing on the
road is a hard thing to do in this league so this is a big win for
“We held a good team down thanks to some very good defense, but more
importantly we didn’t turn the ball over in the first half,” Greenberg
“Everybody played a solid game tonight.”