Hapoel Gilboa Galil surprised Hapoel Jerusalem 98-93 at Gan Ner in the Galilee. Oded Katash’s capital city side squad went up by 20 points, 35-15 in the second quarter but frittered away the advantage as a red hot Edgar Sosa couldn’t miss and scored 38 points to lead Lior Lubin’s team past the defending State Cup champs. In addition to Sosa’s scoring spree, Jarmar Gulley and Yiftah Ziv each dropped 18 points in the win. John Holland scored 19 points, while Idan Zalmanson and Tashawn Thomas each added 14 points in the defeat.
1) Jerusalem’s defense was somewhere between atrocious and pathetic for the final three quarters last night. The Reds went up by 20 and they seemed to have closed up shop as they thought Gilboa Galil would do especially after losing Jarvis Varnado. Well that didn’t exactly go according to plan as the hosts chipped away and chipped away and chipped away to go ahead in the last minutes of the game and record the victory. If you are a serious team that wants to make noise in the Champions League as well as in the Israeli league and really be considered as a title threat, you can’t give up 98 points and lose to a team that was playing with basically two import players. That can’t happen no matter who is on the floor from Jerusalem. It doesn’t matter if it’s James Feldiene, J’Covan Brown, Nimrod Levi or Tamir Blatt, it can not happen with the budget and aspirations that Oded Katahs’s team has. “We just stopped playing defense from the 2nd quarter on,” said an upset Katash. “I take full responsibility, but you could see that perhaps the players thought the game was going to be easy and was already in their hands. We were a bit arrogant and leant a lesson in modesty.” Katash continued to rip into his squad, “We gave up 98 points after a good defensive first quarter. That can’t happen and you can’t win like that. The players have to come into every game with a level of seriousness and professionalism.” Idan Zalmanson agreed with his coach, “We gave up almost 30 points a quarter from the second frame on. We can’t let that occur. I didn’t defend well enough and I should have been more focused along with understanding the importance of each possession.
2) For Gilboa Galil this was a monumental victory. To come into the game with only three imports then lose Jarvis Varnado after 13 minutes plus Netanel Artzi and Gil Beni who also suffered injuries is something from the movies. To go down 20 points and fight back with incredible shooting nights from Edgar Sosa, Jarmar Gulley and Yiftach Ziv shows you that this squad has something special to offer. Gilboa Galil outrebounded Jerusalem 38-37 which included 15 offensive boards, seven of which from Ido Flaisher and caused the Reds to commit 13 turnovers shows that this Galilee squad has tons of fight in them. One of the reasons is Edgar Sosa. The veteran guard has played all over the map from Germany to Israel to New Zealand and beyond. Gailboa Galil were fortunate to be able to sign such a solid player in Sosa also starred in Italy winning a Serie A championship with Sassari. “We had an amazing game” said Sosa. We recorded a win against a huge club with a terrific offense, perhaps the best in Israel. Hopefully we can continue this way next game because we want to get back into the playoff picture.” Lior Lubin also spoke about the win, “Other than the victory we showed tremendous heart to come back from the huge deficit and win the game. I’m proud of the guys, this was a very big win for the club.”
3) Jerusalem plays a very tough road game in Champions League action on Wednesday night when they visit Anwil in Poland just outside of Warsaw and Katash knows that if the Reds come to play like they did at Gilboa Galil they will be in deep trouble. “Anwil have four good scorers who are as good or if not better than the two we had to contend with against Gilboa Galil. We will have to learn our lesson on how to play defense or else we won’t win in Poland.” If Jerusalem has any designs to win the Champions League they will have to button down the hatches or else there will be a number of repeat performances as was seen in the Galilee.
There were a number of strange substitutions and lineups that Katash used in this game. From not playing Suleiman Braimoh in order to rest him which was explained by the media team in a text at halftime, to newcomer John Holland playing over 30 minutes or when the score was 83-80 for Jerusalem with 8:19 left in the game and James Feldeine was taken off never to be heard from again, it was just a weird night. It was as if Jerusalem was not trying to win the game. Sure you can rest players and you can rotate, but certain moves just made no sense. Katash was asked about Feldiene, “I just thought other players needed to be on the floor and I don’t want to get into this reason or that reason as to why.” It’s ok to rest a player, that’s fine especially when there is a critical European game coming up, but the club could have been a bit more transparent about that especially when coach Katash frequently talks about having a short rotation. It’s also a bit odd when your star player is glued to the bench for the final 8:19 of the game and it was clear that he wasn’t going to come back in when he put on the sweatshirt, you could see his day was done. In addition, the club could have made a decision much earlier on Isaiah Cousins which would have allowed them to begin looking for a replacement earlier and work them into the rotation and the same can be said about Mindaugas Kupsas at this point as well who still hasn’t been registered for the Israeli league. By the way I know a big man Israeli that is available and he’s currently unemployed in Florida. Amare Stoudemire.