Hapoel Jerusalem blew away Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion 94-76 at the Arena thanks to a spectacular shooting night by Oded Katash’s squad. In a first half where it seemed that no Red’s player missed, Hapoel scored 60 points thanks to James Feldeine (25p/8r/6a) who dropped 16 points over the first 20 minutes as Jerusalem never looked back and cruised to an easy 20 point victory. Chris Johnson scored 17 points, Lior Eliyahu added 11 points and Josh Owens came close to a double-double with 9 points and 9 rebounds. Deshawn Stephens led Rishon with 20 points and Cameron Long chipped in with 14 points in the loss.
1) James Feldeine began his press conference by commenting that The Sports Rabbi had a nice shirt and hat on as I was wearing some Panathinaikos gear I had picked up last week in Athens. Of course the Quinnipiac college star had played for the Greek club between 2015-2017, earning Greek Cup MVP honors during his last season with the team. He played exactly how Oded Katash knew he could and thought he could as the former Red just annihilated Rishon. “James was terrific today and that’s why he’s here. I think he had some individual baskets but also from some teamwork.“ Feldeine also commented about playing at the Arena for the first time, “The fans were loud. I’ve played in big games with over 22,000 people, but they were loud and I hope that the second section will also fill up. They helped us big time, from the jump ball all the way through they brought us a lot of energy. This is our first time playing here and my first time ever. I was excited the whole day and it showed tonight.”
2) Rishon gave up 62(!) points in the paint. Yes you read correctly, 62! Zvika Sherf’s side was dominated every which way down low and also barely fouled allowing Jerusalem chance after chance in the paint. Not exactly the effort that the veteran coach wanted to see. They came into the game unprepared and perhaps they were still sitting on the laurels of their Winner Cup Tournament win. Overall a poor performance that I’m sure they do not want to repeat.
3) Josh Owens spoke exclusively to the Sports Rabbi about the game that was and his near double double performance, “It was good that the guys all came out and played with good chemistry, moved the ball and got up and down. We just played good basketball, it felt good.”
Looking back at the last loss against Rishon Le’Zion:
“We came prepared, ready and we studied a good amount of film. The coaching staff did a great job getting us ready.”
“I think we’re just trying to find our rhythm. It’s been good early on and we’re still jelling together in practices and building that chemistry. Step by step and game by game we’re getting a little bit better.”
Thoughts on playing for the first time playing at the Jerusalem Arena:
“I loved it. Fans were awesome and they bring a great atmosphere. It was a lot of fun.”
Next Champions League game against Lietkabelis:
“We have to put this game behind us and get some rest and come with the mindset to preached and lock-in over the next few days. It’s a quick turn around and we’ve had a lot of games over the last couple of days.”
Before the game Hapoel Jerusalem held an emotional ceremony honoring their recently retired captain Yotam Halperin who helped the Reds to a pair of league championships, their first ever. A video tribute was played on the Jumbotron and as the fans cheered their her. A classy tribute to a classy guy. One of Israel’s best.
Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Eilat in the Red Sea City 83-70 after a delay just minutes into the game. Due to many activities taking place in the arena there was condensation on the floor and stickers which resulted in the players slipping and sliding all over the parquet. Finally after close to an hour play resumed and Eilat held serve as the first half ended all knotted up at 39. However, the second half saw the Yellow & Blue run away with the 13-point victory. Johnny O’Bryant led Maccabi with 16 points while Tarik Black added 14 points in the win. Elijah Bryant was the top man for the host’s dropping 23 points in the defeat.
Maccabi Ashdod 71-94 Hapoel Holon
Holon dismantled Ashdod by 23 points as Brad Greenberg’s side fell yet again in Israel Basketball League play. Holon featured 5 players in double figures and shot close to 50% from 3-point range as Sean Jones (16p/9r), TJ Cline (15p) and Darion Atkins (14P) led the way for Dan Shamir’s side. Paul Stoll scored 27 points while Winston Shepard dropped 14 points in the loss.
Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 95-84 Nes Ziona 84
Greg Whittington (23p/11r) and James Kelly (14p/13r) recorded double-doubles for the host’s in an 11 point win up north. Nes Ziona’s Chris Dowe (19p) and Golan Gutt (17p) countered for the visitor’s but it wasn’t enough to steal the road win. Ian Miller (20p) and Joaquin Szuchman (14p) contributed to the win while Mickell Gladness picked up a double-double for Nes Ziona in the defeat.