Win at all costs; Hapoel Jerusalem victorious in Italy

Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia 61-63 Hapoel Jerusalem
Hapoel Jerusalem defeated Reggio Emilia 63-61 at the wire. The hosts took an early lead outscoring Hapoel 21-13 in the first frame but let their 8 point advantage slip away by halftime, 35-31. Hapoel Jerusalem carried that momentum into the 3rd quarter by tying up the game 46-46 with just ten minutes to go as the Reds scored 7 points in the last 1:20 to pick up their first EuroCup win. Jerome Dyson led the way for Hapoel scoring 22 points with 3 assists, Alen Omic supplemented him with 13 points and 3 rebounds while Austin Daye also had 8 points and 9 rebounds. Amedeo Della Valle was the only player scoring in double digits for Emilia with 23 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Both Jalen Reynolds and Manuchar Markoishvili added 8 points in the loss as well.

1) Hapoel Jerusalem pulled a Houdini and escaped Reggio Emilia with a 2-point win. It was tough to watch, it was very tough to watch in fact, but Jerome Dyson with 22 points had a huge three pointer with 17 seconds to go, as he put it all out on the line and helped the Reds to the crucial EuroCup win. The victory puts them back in the picture to advance to the next round as they move to 1-3 in continental play. It was ugly, but Hapoel was able to pull off the victory and host 0-4 Galatasaray next week in the holy city while they welcome Liatkabelis the following week. Not only was it a hard to watch game, the numbers are scary, very, very scary; 17/38 from 2pt, 4/17 from 3pt land, while giving up 10 offensive rebounds. But most importantly for the Jerusalem faithful, they got the win and right now that’s what they need to do, collect wins at all cost.

2) Speaking of at all cost, Bar Timor played only 1:08 and exited with an injury, Lior Eliyahu didn’t play, Yotam Halperin played 17 minutes and put up a goose egg as did Tarrence Kinsey in 12 minutes while Yogev Ohayon clocked 24 minutes and scored a lone free throw. At the end of the day, that’s just not going to cut it, no way no how. Four players featured for 27+ minutes, that’s a lot. This team needs a couple of players and quickly. The domestic league is long but the European season could be over faster than a speeding bullet. The win bought them so time and next week’s game against Galatasaray is a good chance for their second win, but of course, nothing is guaranteed.

3) “It was the call I had to make and I had to trust my shot more,” Dyson said about his clutch 3-pointer to give Jerusalem the win. “We showed what we are capable of, but it’s all about doing it for a full game. We now know what it feels like to win and we have to use this energy to recover and look to the next game,” the guard continued. Will the win propel the team forward under Coach Fotis Katsikaris? Can the players indeed take the energy from this victory and move on to the next game? Are there some players who can’t cut it under the boss? Or has he lost one of the best Israelis over the past decade in Lior Eliyahu who didn’t step onto the floor?That will be the $1 million question. There’s still plenty to do, the question remains, though, can they build, gain confidence and trust in the system and win all at once?

Simone Pianigiani is back in the house as he comes to Israel as Head Coach of Milano as his team faces Maccabi Tel Aviv in Euroleague play. He was happy, friendly and jovial as ever, glad to be in Israel for a visit to see some old faces at the site of last season’s championship game. He’s definitely thrilled to be back in Italy, his home and with a 3 year contract to rebuild the program at Milan from almost scratch. He spoke about the challenge ahead for his new team and the good environment he’s in. While he was speaking about the project that he is now working on, I was thinking what would have been should he have stayed at Hapoel and where would he be taking the Red’s program. Would Jerusalem be closer to the Euroleague? Would we have seen the same issues with Curtis Jerrells? Which new players would have come? Of course, that’s all shoulda, coulda and woulda. I don’t envy the position that Coach Katsikaris came into or any coach in fact that would have taken the job, stepping into the shoes of a Championship winning team. It’s not easy and in perhaps not even fair. The concern really isn’t the domestic season, there is plenty of games to go until the playoffs in May, it’s the EuroCup and that is why the win against Reggio was so important. Everything takes time, and Coach Katsikaris unfortunately doesn’t have that in Europe. He’s got to win, win, win and worry about the process later. Or else it will be too late.

The Last Word:
Head Coach Fotis Katsikaris spoke about the match and the situation that the club has been in for some time: “We all knew the difficult situation, we were and we still are. We had a lot of issues to solve as a team, one of which is to have a different attitude in defense, defense wins games. Today was a game to win and the way that we wanted. It was a great effort by everyone who stepped on the court today. We have talent and I believe that if we continue with the same attitude and insist until the end”. The boss also discussed Tarrence Kinsey’s comeback: “Big credit to TK. It’s not easy to be out for a number of months and come back after a few of a practices.”

Proximus Spirou 66-62 Bnei Herzliya
Spirou held the lead throughout as they got off to a good start by taking a 4 point lead in the first quarter and didn’t look back from there. Even though Herzliya had more players scoring in double digits, Spirou had a greater supporting cast coming off the bench. One of the reasons for their efficiency could be that Herzliya only played 8 players throughout the game opposed to Spirou’s 11 causing fatigue to be a factor. Seth Tuttle led Proximus Spirou with 13 points and 7 boards, Amaury Gorgemans scored 12 points with 5 rebounds and Jack Gibbs, Haris Delalic and Ioann Iarochevitch each had 7 points. Xavier Thames ushered the way for Herzliya in the loss with 16 points while Taurean Green chalked up 14 points with 3 assists and Jeff Adrien added 12 points in the defeat.

Pinar Karsiyaka 98-91 Hapoel Holon
Holon’s late 4th quarter surge wasn’t enough as they fell 98-91 to Karsiyaka. The game started off close and at the end of the first frame Karsiyaka only led by 3 points, but the next two quarters were a different story. The hosts dominated the second and third frames, leading Holon by 11 points at the end of the 2nd and 16 points by the end of the third quarter. However Holon didn’t go down without a fight outscoring Karsiyaka 35-26 in the 4th, however, their effort was not enough on this night. D.J. Kennedy guided Karsiyaka to the win with a double double recording 24 points and 10 rebounds as Dominic Waters helped him with 17 points and 5 assists while Scott Wood and Egemen Guven also had 13 points each. Glen Rice Jr. steered the way for Holon with 23 points and 5 rebounds, Terrell Tu Holloway and Joe Alexander added 15 points a piece.

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