It's been 16 years since the last time Hapoel Holon played in European competition, and the team made the most of its return on Wednesday night with an impressive 84-69 home victory over Georgian club Armia in their Eurochallenge opener.
Although the Eurochallenge is the third tier of European competition after the Euroleague and Eurocup formats, the Holon fans as usual provided a wonderful atmosphere and egged on the home team from the opening tip-off. A handful of Georgian-Israelis pulled for the visitors.
The players on the court got off to a slow start with Holon holding a small lead. Armia did the most damage from the perimeter, but Holon used its size advantage to establish a 47-39 halftime lead.
The third quarter was decisive as Holon was able to penetrate Armia's defense and extend its lead to 20 points at 72-52 by the end of the period.
Holon's Frank Hassell led all scorers with 22 points, followed by Taylor Smith with 16. Holon head coach Dan Shamir said he was happy with the team's strong defensive performance.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now