Hapoel Jerusalem suffers BSL setback at Rishon

Jerusalem had its chances to complete the comeback but it dropped to another disappointing league defeat.

Hapoel Jerusalem 311 (photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem 311
(photo credit: Hapoel Jerusalem website)
Hapoel Jerusalem’s three-game BSL winning streak was brought to an end on Saturday with an 83-80 road defeat at the hands of Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Despite struggling with injuries, Jerusalem had managed to climb to second place in the standings with three successive conquests, but it trailed Rishon throughout Saturday’s contest and was down by as many as 17 points entering the final 10 minutes.
A fourth-period comeback brought Hapoel within one possession, but the hosts would hold on for the win.
Aaron McGhee had 21 points and seven rebounds for Rishon, with Nitzan Hanochi adding 20 points.
Jason Rich and Dion Dowell scored 17 points each for Jerusalem, which desperately needs to strengthen its roster in the absence of the injured Brian Randle.
The hosts began the game with a 10-2 run, capped by a McGhee basket, and had a 23- 18 edge after 10 minutes.
Rishon also started the second period the better of the two teams and quickly opened a double-digit margin (31-21).
Maccabi still held a 10-point gap at the break (48-38) and remained in complete control in the third quarter, taking a 69-52 cushion into the final 10 minutes.
However, Hapoel went on an 18-2 run at the start of the final frame to get right back into the game (73-70). Jerusalem had its chances to complete the comeback but it would end up coming no closer than two points (80-78) and dropped to another disappointing league defeat.
On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Bnei Hasharon, looking to avenge its only BSL defeat of the season so far.
Maccabi leads the league comfortably with a 14-1 record, winning its games by an average 21 points, with its only blemish being the 91-88 defeat to Bnei Hasharon at Nokia Arena two months ago.
Bnei Hasharon went on to lose four of its next five games, but has won its last two to move into the top-4 in the standings.
Former Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Maceo Baston will not get the chance to play the yellow-and- blue after leaving Bnei Hasharon over the weekend.
Baston, who asked to return to the US because of personal problems, played just seven games for Bnei Hasharon, scoring an average of 3.1 points in a mere 13 minutes per game.
Also Sunday, Maccabi Haifa, which has lost 11 of its last 12 games, hosts Maccabi Ashdod and Hapoel Gilboa/Galil visits Barak Netanya.
Ironi Ashkelon hosts Hapoel Holon on Monday.