Rishon wins first EuroCup game, Jerusalem opens Champions League with a W, Holon falls at home

Rishon Le’Zion Oded Carni

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion had a historic win when they defeated Monaco from France 79-72 in EuroCup action for their first ever competition victory. Rishon came out on fire and took a quick 24-17 lead after ten minutes thanks to star guard Alex Hamilton who ended the night with 22 points. Monaco closed the gap by halftime and went into the break only down by 3-points, 43-40.

But Guy Goodes’s team, who were with a short bench, played stunning defense over the second half while Johnathan Williams, Darryl Monroe and Jordan Swing turned up the offense as Rishon held on to take the win.

Goodes spoke about the victory after the game, “We are very happy. This is a very strong competition and there are a lot of very good teams. The first two games we were struggling, but we had 30 very good minutes against Bologna away and today we started the game very strong. We took the lead. But in the end, we were a little fatigued. We turned it over too much. But in the end, we got the victory and that’s what is important.”

The star of the contest, Alex Hamilton also commented about the clash, “I’m not satisfied yet. It’s a long season. It’s just a win, but we’ll take it. Even though nobody believed in us, except the guys in the locker room, our front office and our fans, we just believed and stayed together and we were able to come out with this victory.”

Hapoel Jerusalem opened up their European journey with a 73-69 win on the road at Bandirma in Turkey. The Reds had a tough and tumble affair that saw scoring at a premium but J’Covan Brown (19 points), Suleiman Braimoh (15 points) and Tashawn Thomas (16 points) were able to give Oded Katash’s squad a 33-30 lead after twenty minutes of play.

Brown and Braimoh again were the catalysts over the second half which saw Jerusalem extend their lead to 11 points, 60-49 entering the fourth quarter. Bandirma stormed back but the Capital City side was able to hold on to the record the victory.

Oded Katash summed up his team’s win, “I’m happy that we won and that we were able to control a tough road game, although we could have played better basketball. We missed many 3-pointers and their defense didn’t allow us to create a big gap, but we also played well on the defensive end and that helped us. At the end of the day this was a good result for us as we open our Champions League campaign.”

Hapoel Holon lost to Turk Telekom 82-79 at home in a tight Champions League contest that opened up the continental season. In a back and forth affair throughout the first three quarters, Sharon Drucker’s squad finally broke away thanks to an 11-0 run to take a 72-65 lead with 3:57 remaining in the game.

However, Muhammed Baygul scored 4 points and dished out 3 assists to pull to within one point and then Nick Johnson drilled a triple and hit a pull up jumper to give Turk Telekom the win. Malachi Richardson scored 21 points, Latavious Williams added 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Marcus Foster chipped in for 13 points for Holon. TJ Campbell was the high scorer for the visitors while Baygul and Johnson each dropped 13 points.