Local Hoops: Mac TA clobbers Ashkelon

Pini Gershon guides team to 99-75 victory.

Mac TA 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Mac TA 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv finally received some good news on Monday, both on and off the court. On-court, Pini Gershon made a winning return to the BSL, guiding Maccabi to a 99-75 thrashing of Ironi Ashkelon. Off-court, the club announced the signing of new assistant coach Sharon Drucker to a three-year contract. The 41-year-old Drucker, who guided Hapoel Jerusalem to the ULEB Cup in 2004, leaves Belgian club BC Oostende, which he rejoined just a month ago. Drucker, who also helped Russian team Ural Great to the EuroCup Challenge in 2006, left Oostende in the summer after guiding it to a league and cup double last season, and is expected to have a dominant role under Gershon, who is known for giving his assistants plenty of freedom. On Monday, Gershon managed easily without Drucker by his side, with Maccabi cruising to the easiest of victories at Ashkelon. Tel Aviv hit 15 three-pointers and was good on 67 percent of its shots from two-point range and, after opening a solid lead in the first quarter, sailed for the remainder of the encounter. A 28-19 Maccabi lead after 10 minutes, mushroomed into a 26-point halftime margin (62-36), and rendered the second half meaningless. "Drucker has been helping me in the last few days and he also deserves credit for this win," Gershon said. "I think Sharon will strengthen our coaching staff. This is my third tenure at Maccabi and I've always tried to sign top coaches as assistants." Carlos Arroyo scored 22 points and passed 10 assists for Maccabi, which had six players in double-figures. Marcus Brown scored 19 points, hitting four threes, with Omri Casspi and Dror Hagag adding 11 points each for the winners. Rashon Turner scored 16 points for Ashkelon, which has lost three straight league games. "I have no excuse for this performance," Ashkelon coach Adi Azulai said. "We had a total blackout. Maccabi was four levels better than us tonight."