J’lem goes for 1st win in home opener

Trying to forget Euroleague nightmare, Mac TA visits Ashkelon.

hapoel jerusalem 311 (photo credit: (FIBA EUROPE website))
hapoel jerusalem 311
(photo credit: (FIBA EUROPE website))
Hapoel Jerusalem will look to rebound from its disappointing defeat to Bnei Hasharon in its BSL opener last week when it hosts Maccabi Ashdod at Malha Arena on Sunday night.
Jerusalem lacked the intensity and composure coach Oded Katash was hoping to see in the 81-76 loss in Herzliya, but will be a firm favorite to return to winning ways against its newly promoted opponent.
Led by former Jerusalem star Meir Tapiro, Ashdod claimed an historic victory over Ironi Ashkelon in its first-ever game of top-flight basketball last Monday.
However, Sunday’s encounter will be a stern test of Ofer Berkowitz’s team’s credentials, which is hoping for nothing more than survival this season.
“Even though Ashdod is a new team in the league, it proved that it is a strong side last week,” Katash said. “We will have to maintain our composure for 40 minutes to win. This is our first home game of the BSL season and it is important we take it.”
Also Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv travels down south to play Ironi Ashkelon and Bnei Hasharon visits Maccabi Rishon Lezion.
Tel Aviv will be aiming to recover from a 94-78 pounding in its Euroleague opener at Caja Laboral Vitoria on Thursday.
“We didn’t play well against Vitoria,” coach David Blatt said. “But we can’t wallow in the defeat. The loss in Vitoria hurt us, but we must put it behind us.”
On Saturday, Barak Netanya claimed its first victory of the season, beating Hapoel Holon 79-63.
A tight first half ended with Netanya leading by a single point (42-41), but the visitors opened a 12-point margin by the end of the third period (66-54) and were never going to be caught in the final 10 minutes.
Adrian Banks led Netanya with 24 points, with Romeo Travis adding 19 points and 11 rebounds. Elton Brown came off the bench to contribute 15 points and a BSL season-high 21 rebounds.
Robert Hite scored 16 points for Holon, which dropped to its second straight defeat.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa welcomes Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.