Nahariya upsets Jerusalem with late run

Defending champ suffers second-straight BSL loss after poor offensive showing at Ein Sara

Ironi Nahariya forward Gilbert Brown (center) scored 15 points in last night’s 72-67 win over Hapoel Jerusalem and D’or Fischer (left). (photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Ironi Nahariya forward Gilbert Brown (center) scored 15 points in last night’s 72-67 win over Hapoel Jerusalem and D’or Fischer (left).
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
After seeing its 14-game BSL winning streak come to an end last weekend, defending champion Hapoel Jerusalem lost its second straight league contest on Sunday night, suffering a 72-67 defeat at Ironi Nahariya.
Jerusalem opened this season with four straight wins, but after falling at the hands of Maccabi Rishon Lezion last Saturday, it finds itself in the midst of a losing streak in the league for the first time since last December after being outplayed by Nahariya down the stretch.
Jerusalem entered the game averaging a league-leading 87.6 points per game, including a BSL-best 45.7 percent from threepoint range.
However, Nahariya held Hapoel to 3-of-19 from beyond the arc on Sunday to improve to 4-3.
Gilbert Brown and Cameron Clark had 15 points each for Nahariya.
“I’m really proud of my team because we aimed to hold Jerusalem to fewer than 70 points,” said Nahariya coach Eric Alfasi.
E.J. Rowland and Donta Smith scored 13 points each for Jerusalem, which fell to 4-2.
“We need to know how to play with the right energy and aggressiveness in games like this,” said Jerusalem coach Danny Franco, who was without the injured Yotam Halperin and Lior Eliyahu.
“We need to realize that we can beat any team but can also lose to any team.”
Nahariya got off to the better start, leading by eight points (19-11) after 10 minutes. Jerusalem erased the gap in the first four minutes of the second period and had a two-point edge (31-29) at the break.
Hapoel looked to be well placed when it took a seven- point cushion (52-45) into the final 10 minutes, but a 12-0 Nahariya run put the hosts in the driving seat (62-55) midway through the fourth frame.
The visitors scored the next seven points to tie the score and the game would come down to the final two minutes.
Donta Smith gave Jerusalem a 65-64 advantage with 2:25 minutes to play, but Nahariya would score the next eight points to clinch the win.
BSL action continues on Monday when Maccabi Tel Aviv (4-2) visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion (4-1). Tel Aviv will be playing its third game in five days and will be guided yet again by assistant coach Avi Even, who has coached the team on an interim basis since Guy Goodes’s sacking last week. The yellow-and-blue will be aiming to build on Saturday’s victory over Ironi Ness Ziona ahead of the expected appointment of new head coach Zan Tabak. Maccabi is hoping to wrap up the signing of the 45-year-old Croatian on Monday after he guided Montakit Fuenlabrada to an 82-68 win over San Sebastian in the Spanish league.
Tabak only joined Fuenlabrada this past summer, but Maccabi has agreed a buy-out with the club for the coach’s services.
Maccabi is hoping Tabak will already be able to guide the team in Thursday’s Euroleague game against CSKA Moscow at Yad Eliyahu Arena, with the yellowand- blue on the verge of failing to qualify for the Top 16 for the first time ever.