Reeling Hap J’lem gets hammered by Habika’a

Jerusalem was thrashed 81-59 at BC Habika’a, falling to one of its more humbling defeats in recent seasons.

Oded Katash 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Oded Katash 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Oded Katash’s days at Hapoel Jerusalem look numbered after his team’s already disappointing season hit a new low on Monday night.
Jerusalem was thrashed 81-59 at BC Habika’a, falling to one of its more humbling defeats in recent seasons.
Katash’s men simply failed to show up for Monday’s BSL encounter, trailing by eight points (21-13) after 10 minutes and by 15 (42-27) at the break, before completely falling apart in the second half.
Hapoel’s players were totally inept against Avi Ashkenazi’s team, which had lost its previous three games, but led by as many as 32 points (73-41) on Monday.
Katash’s future in Jerusalem was already hanging in the balance in the summer after last season’s disappointment and the manner of Monday’s defeat, combined with the early Eurocup exit, could well bring his time at the club to an abrupt ending.
“This was an unpleasant defeat,” Katash said. “There is a lot to learn from this game. We need to work hard and things will work out.”
Guni Izraeli and Elishay Kadir scored 12 points each for Jerusalem, with Rashaun Freeman netting 20 for Habika’a and Dion Dowell adding 19 points and 15 rebounds against his former team.
Barak Netanya continued its unlikely run on Monday, defeating Ironi Ashkelon 86-84 for its fourth consecutive win thanks to Eric Hicks’s basket with 0.7 seconds to play.
Netanya, which began the season with six straight defeats, led for much of the game, but Ashkelon fought back and the score was tied entering the dying moments.
Adrian Banks missed a chance to clinch the game for Netanya, but Hicks came up with a crucial offensive rebound and scored the winning points.
Brian Asbury led Netanya with 33 points and 11 rebounds, with Banks scoring 20 for Danny Franco’s team, which lost Christian Burns for the season with a knee injury.
Marco Killingsworth led six Ashkelon players in double figures with 20 points.
There was also late drama in Rishon Lezion, with the hosts edging Maccabi Haifa 76-74.
After losing its last two games by a single point, Maccabi Rishon Lezion finally held its nerve when it mattered most, with Joe Crawford hitting the winning basket with three seconds to play.
Crawford led the winners with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Carlos Powell had 18 points for Haifa.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil remains Maccabi Tel Aviv’s closest challenger, beating Maccabi Ashdod 97-75 in Gan Ner on Monday for its sixth win in seven games.
Gilboa led throughout the game and all but clinched the win with still 10 minutes to play, taking a 70-57 margin into the final frame.
Romeo Travis led Gilboa with 25 points, with Joseph Jones adding 18 points and 11 boards for the hosts and Josh Duncan scoring 20 for Ashdod