Hapoel J’lem puts up another stinker

Ashdod runs over Reds; Gilboa/Galil to overtake 2nd place; 18 straight for Mac TA.

MACCABI TEL AVIV swingman Chuck Eidson 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
MACCABI TEL AVIV swingman Chuck Eidson 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Jerusalem was booed off the court at Malha Arena on Wednesday night after plummeting to its third straight BSL defeat, 86-78 to Maccabi Ashdod.
Jerusalem’s fans are some of the most loyal in Israel, but even they ran out of patience on Wednesday after seeing their team put up yet another apathetic performance.
After being humbled by 21 points by lowly Maccabi Haifa on Sunday, Hapoel supporters were surely expecting a positive reaction from their team. However, Jerusalem looked lost against Ashdod and will be entering the playoffs in dismal form.
“We are all aware of the expectations at this club and sometimes that is slightly paralyzing,” Jerusalem coach Oded Katash said. “We played without confidence and we weren’t sharp. We can lose to any team, but we can also beat any team.
We must remain positive because there’s not much else we can do. This season can still end with a good feeling and we must continue to believe.”
A Meir Tapiro basket capped a 12-0 Ashdod run which gave the visitors a 44-33 lead and Ofer Berkowitz’s team took a nine-point margin (52-43) into the break.
Hapoel managed to close within four points at one stage in the third quarter, but still trailed 66- 54 with 10 minutes to play.
Despite trailing by just three points (78-75) with three minutes remaining, couldn’t complete the comeback and left the court to jeers from its fans.
Josh Duncan had 27 points and seven boards for Ashdod, with Josh Carter adding 24 points and Tapiro contributing 12 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists against his former team.
Brian Randle had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Hapoel, which visits Barak Netanya in its final regular season game next week.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil will leapfrog Jerusalem into second place in the standings when it hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv in a postponed game on Sunday after claiming an 88-84 overtime victory at Maccabi Rishon Lezion on Wednesday.
Warren Carter had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Gilboa, which won for the seventh time in eight games.
Raymar Morgan scored 20 points for Rishon, which enters its final game of the regular season tied with Ashdod with a 13-13 record.
Maccabi Tel Aviv won its 18th consecutive league game on Wednesday, thrashing Barak Netanya 92-60.
Chuck Eidson had 20 points for Maccabi, with Shmulik Brenner scoring 18 for Netanya, which faces the daunting prospect of playing Tel Aviv in the quarterfinal playoffs.
Bnei Hasharon remained in the chase for third position in the table on Wednesday, edging Maccabi Haifa 92-90.
Shawn James equaled the league record with 11 blocks, while also scoring seven points and taking 10 rebounds.
Lee Nailon led the winners with 27 points, with Sylven Landesberg scoring 22 points for Haifa.
Also Wednesday, Ironi Ashkelon beat Hapoel Holon 82- 64 on the road, winning for just the second time in 13 contests and snapping a four-game skid.
Rodney Green led six Ashkelon players with 16 points, with Rich Melzer scoring 18 points for Holon, which has lost five of six games.