Local Hoops: Maccabi aims to rise out of alarming slump against Ashkelon

Maccabi's defeat to Hapoel Galil Elyon on Thursday was its third straight BSL defeat.

maccabi derrick sharp (photo credit: AP)
maccabi derrick sharp
(photo credit: AP)
Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Ironi Ashkelon on Sunday night in the midst of its worst league slump in recent memory. Maccabi's defeat to Hapoel Galil Elyon on Thursday was its third straight BSL defeat and means the team has now amazingly lost a third of its league games this season. "This loss really hurts us and was completely unnecessary," Maccabi coach Tzvika Sherf said after his team suffered its fourth BSL loss in five games on Thursday. "We were poor in every facet of the game. This has happened too much lately. I have no explanation how we defeat Siena, but lose to Galil. Something is wrong here." Ashkelon's Final Four aspirations suffered a blow last week when the team's six game winning streak was cut short by Maccabi Rishon Lezion. A victory on Sunday will, however, keep Ashkelon in contention ahead of the season's final two games. The league's two hottest teams meet at Ein Sara on Sunday. Ironi Nahariya, which has won four straight games, can take a significant step towards the Final Four with a home victory against top of the table Hapoel Holon, which is on an eight game winning streak. "We have three more games and we have to win two of them to book our place in the Final Four," Nahariya forward Ido Kozikaro told the BSL's official Web site. "This is a very important game. Our goal is to reach the Final Four. If we don't manage that than the entire season will have gone to waste." Hapoel Jerusalem must defeat Ironi Ramat Gan at Malha Arena on Sunday to keep alive its outside chance of reaching the season ending tournament. The State Cup holder has lost six of its last seven games and could see its season come to an end if it fails to beat Ramat Gan. Also Sunday, the league's two bottom side's face-off in a game that could determine the outcome of the relegation battle. Hapoel Afula/Gilboa, which has lost four straight games, hosts a Maccabi Rishon Lezion team which has won three consecutive encounters. On Monday, Galil hosts Bnei Hasharon.