Rishon Le’Zion stuns Jerusalem 78-73, opens up relegation battle while Reds drop to second place

Apr 4, 2022 | Holyland Hoops

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion stunned Hapoel Jerusalem 78-73 as the wine city squad who find themselves in last place find themselves only two games behind Hapoel Beer Sheva in the battle against relegation as the the third round is about to begin. The loss drops the Reds into second place as Maccabi Tel Aviv who defeated Hapoel Gilboa Galil move to the top of the standings and will host the Israeli Classico ahead of the quarterfinals.

Dror Cohen’s team controlled the game over the majority of the 40 minutes as Archie Goodwin, Tu Holloway and Diamon Simpson scored key baskets as the time wound down to take the crucial victory.

Anthony Brown, Tu Holloway and Diamon Simpson paced Rishon Le’Zion to get the game underway while John Egbunu and Suleiman Braimoh scored for Hapoel Jerusalem but the hosts took a 21-17 lead after ten minutes. Archie Goodwin began to scoring while Simpson and Brown also found the bottom of the basket as KC Rivers and Braimoh tried to keep the Reds close, however, Dror Cohen’s team held a 41-33 advantage at halftime.

Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Goodwin kept scoring for Rishon while Braimoh and Retin Obasohan countered for Jerusalem to cut the lead down to 55-52 after thirty minutes of play. Jalen Adams drilled home a pair of triples to start off the fourth quarter but Goodwin and Netanel Artzi came right back to keep the hosts in front 66-65 midway through the period. Holloway scored a pair of baskets, Adams came back with a bucket but Artzi picked off a Noam Dovrat pass that sent Goodwin in for an alley-oop while the swingman added another basket as time wound down to help Rishon to the win.

Goodwin led the way with 19 points, Holloway added 17 points and Simpson chipped in with 12 points in the win. Braimoh paced Jerusalem with 17 points and Adams scored 12 points in the loss.

Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

“We missed the winning feeling,” Cohen said following the win. “All of the credit goes to the players. You have to always show optimism and if I dropped my head down then why wouldn’t the others. After a tough loss to Eilat we had a day off and the guys came back and practiced hard. They themselves decided that they wanted to battle.”

“This was our worst league game of the season and we couldn’t create any momentum,” Jerusalem coach Yotam Halperin explained. “We didn’t play well enough on offense. I’m not shocked that we lost to Rishon, there are no easy games in this league and it was a good wake up call ahead of the next round.”

Diamon Simpson – Photo Credit: Basket.co.il

Veteran forward Diamon Simpson spoke about the win from his point of view, “We’ve been down so long so it feels good winning. It’s hard on us and the coach. We’ve been fighting for our lives for 5 months. We are fighting every day. Keeping the fight is challenging and management made the right adjustments while the coach did not give up on us.”

Jerusalem guard Retin Obasohan talked about the loss, “I think we didn’t play Jerusalem basketball on both sides of the ball. Especially for us we have to play our style of play and we didn’t do that properly. We were very aware of the importance of the game. Everybody in the organization spoke about how important game this was.”

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