Hap J’lem tailspin continues with humbling loss to Ashkelon

Jerusalem dropped to 7-6 in the BSL on Sunday night after falling to a humbling 83-74 defeat at Ironi Ashkelon.

Sharon Drucker 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Sharon Drucker 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Another week, another pathetic performance by Hapoel Jerusalem.
Jerusalem dropped to 7-6 in the BSL on Sunday night after falling to a humbling 83-74 defeat at Ironi Ashkelon, its third loss in four games.
The first of those three defeats at BC Habika’a (81-59) resulted in the resignation of coach Oded Katash, but any notion that Hapoel’s failings would magically disappear under Sharon Drucker’s guidance is being made to look more and more ridiculous with every embarrassing setback.
Jerusalem thrashed Bnei Hasharon in Drucker’s first game in charge, but it followed that up with an early cup exit at the hands of Maccabi Rishon Lezion before being outplayed by Hapoel Gilboa/Galil in league action at home last week.
Ashkelon had only won one of its previous six games, but it was still far too good for Jerusalem on Sunday, outscoring the Reds 31-9 in the second quarter to take a 13-point margin (45-32) into the break and effectively clinch the win against Hapoel’s brittle roster.
Drucker started the final quarter with an all-Israeli lineup out of desperation, and his local players at least showed some fighting spirit.
However, that wasn’t enough to get Jerusalem back into the game, leaving Drucker with plenty to ponder during what is sure to be another difficult week in the capital.
Dwayne Mitchell had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Ashkelon, with Marco Killingsworth adding 14 points and 10 boards.
D.J. Strawberry scored 21 points for Jerusalem, which continues to torment its loyal fans.
Elsewhere, Gilboa, Hapoel Holon and Maccabi Rishon Lezion all strengthened their bids for a top-four finish and home-court advantage in the playoffs.
Gilboa defeated Maccabi Haifa 85-72 for its eighth win in 10 games, improving to 9-4 on the season.
Gilboa outscored Haifa 30-15 in the first quarter and held on for the win in the fourth after the Greens closed to within two points (66-64).
Romeo Travis had 28 points and nine rebounds for the winners, with Joseph Jones adding 21.
Sylven Landesberg scored 25 points for Haifa, which lost for a seventh straight game, this time under the guidance of interim coach Ofer Rahimi following the sacking of Mickey Gorka on Friday.
Maccabi Rishon Lezion won its third consecutive encounter on Sunday, beating Habika’a 81-76 on the road.
Joe Crawford had 29 points for Rishon, with Paul Delaney scoring 20 for Habika’a.
Hapoel Holon edged Bnei Hasharon 89-85 in Herzliya for its fourth win in five games.
Ron Lewis had 21 points, six rebounds and five assists for Holon, with Bryant Dunston and Moran Rot contributing 17 points each.
LaceDarius Dunn led Bnei Hasharon with 31 points and 10 rebounds.
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Barak Netanya on Monday.