Hapoel Jerusalem recorded another impressive league win as they defeated Hapoel Holon 94-74 at the Pais Arena in the nation’s capital. Tamir Blatt led all scorers with 21 points, Tashawn Thomas added 17 points and 9 rebounds, James Feldeine dropped 17 points, grabbed 6 boards and dished out 6 assists and Josh Owens went an impressive 6/7 from the field for 13 points in the win. Shawn Jones picked up a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds and Corey Walden chipped in with 13 points for Holon.
Hapoel Jerusalem took a 26-17 lead after ten minutes as Thomas drained 9 points and Feldeine punctuated the frame with a 3-pointer at the buzzer while Jones answered with 7 points for Holon. The Reds continued to dominate the contest and took a 49-33 advantage into halftime as J’Covan Brown and Bar Timor helped increase the lead for Oded Katash’s squad. Owens and Thomas ruled the paint and Blatt began hitting from the outside in the second half as Jerusalem went on to take the 20-point win.
1) Hapoel Jerusalem won the battle of Champions League teams with an absolute beauty of a victory as every player played a part in the win. One of the most important pieces to the puzzle was Tashawn Thomas who was playing against his former team for the first time. In fact, he was pretty excited to have a chance to play against Holon, “It felt good and I guess that’s where a lot of my energy came from. This was the first time in my professional career that I played against a team that I had played for before. So that was pretty cool.” Did you think about playing against your Ex? “The team didn’t let me forget it and every time I came into the locker room they kept asking me who were we playing. It was cool.”
2) Thomas is certainly a special talent that Jerusalem can build around and Coach Katash talked about what the power forward brings to the table, “Tashawn is terrific for us as is other players like Josh (Owens). But Tashawn is like glue for us. He closes up many holes, he does so many important things for us and has a very big upside in the years to come. He’s very dominant.” Thomas also discussed the keys to victory, “We came out with a lot of energy and we knew that this game was important. We came prepared as a team. We tried to focus on rebounds as we knew we had a size advantage.”
3) Josh Owens is one of the most level headed and mature basketball players you’ll ever meet. He’s kind, intelligent and just plain old a pleasure to work with. The center spoke about getting back to fundamentals, “We wanted to get back to our principles and wanted to start out the game well. So we came out aggressive and it worked out well for us.” Owens had solid minutes throughout the game and he was definitely a major reason why Jerusalem ran off with the win.
J’Covan Brown as always was a spark plug off the bench for Jerusalem and wore a pair of pretty cool shoes for Christmas, “I just wanted to do something different this season. I wanted to bring some color out for Christmas because I missed it again with my family. I wanted to bring some excitement just like my shirt says, light it up. It’s just a great day for me.” When it comes to improving, Brown is always looking to do just that, “I just got to keep getting better and keep getting healthy and be out there with my teammates. They picked up the slack for me this season. I’m always happy and motivated to be out there with my teammates and enjoy the moment.”
The next game will be against his former team, Haooel Gilboa/Galil and it won’t be just any game as it will be a State Cup knockout match, “I’m motivated for everything and I’m just a happy guy. Every game is the same. But it’s going to be great to play against my former team. They beat us last time and we just got to be ready and motivated.”
Finally, D’Angelo Harrison who played with Brown at Gilboa/Galil last season was in town to take in a few games and of course there was a stop in Jerusalem. Brown was happy to see him, “That’s my guy, my brother. I just enjoy every moment I can with him and to see him here in Israel is great. I wish I could finish my career with him but it is what it is and hope the best for him.”