Netanya rallies vs Rishon to remain perfect

Barak Netanya continued its remarkable start to the BSL season on Monday night, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 70-62.

Erez Edelstein (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Erez Edelstein
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Barak Netanya continued its remarkable start to the BSL season on Monday night, beating Maccabi Rishon Lezion 70-62 to improve to 5-0 with another display of true grit.
Despite finding itself in a double-digit hole after being outscored 17-0 in the first five minutes of the second quarter, Netanya dug deep and held Rishon to a measly six points in the next 14 minutes to build a cushion it would not relinquish.
“I’m so proud of my guys,” said Netanya coach Danny Franco. “We are at 5-0 so we must be doing something right. We were given a real fight by Rishon, but our team knows how to scrape wins by the skin of its teeth.”
Netanya had a five-point edge (15-10) after 10 minutes, but the hosts were blitzed by Rishon in the first half of the second period, with Effi Birenboim’s men going on a 17-0 run to open a 12- point gap (27-15).
But Netanya chipped at the lead as the first half drew to a close, with Deron Washington’s basket to end the period bringing the hosts within a single point (31-30).
The momentum remained on Netanya’s side in the second half, with a Washington three-pointer opening a 45-33 margin.
Netanya had a 13-point lead (49-36) with 10 minutes to play, but after scoring just six points in 14 minutes, Rishon finally came alive and Nitzan Hanochi’s three closed the gap to 54-50.
However, Rishon would come no closer, falling to a second straight defeat after upsetting Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Marco Killingsworth had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Netanya, with Washington adding 16 points and 11 boards.
Eyal Shulman also shined for the hosts with 13 points, while Julian Wright scored 15 for Rishon.
Also Monday, Maccabi Haifa improved to 3-2, snapping Hapoel Tel Aviv’s three-game winning streak with an 88-52 road victory.
Haifa stormed to a 19-2 lead and Hapoel came no closer than 11 points until the end of the night.
James Thomas led five Haifa players in double figures with 19 points and 12 rebounds, with Paul Stoll adding 16 points.
Curtis Kelly scored 13 for Hapoel.
“This was our best game of the year by far,” said Haifa’s American coach Brad Greenberg. “Playing on the road is a hard thing to do in this league so this is a big win for us.
“We held a good team down thanks to some very good defense, but more importantly we didn’t turn the ball over in the first half,” Greenberg added.
“Everybody played a solid game tonight.”