Having earned promotion from Liga Bet last season after we finished second in only our first-ever season as a team, we played in our inaugural Liga Alef game on Thursday night, facing off against Netzer Sereni at home in the 22/23 season opener.
After a busy summer, there were a number of debutants in the squad for the game, most notably ex-pros and legends of Israeli basketball; Yaniv Green, Meir Tapiro and Lior Levi.
Green and Tapiro opened in the starting five, alongside last season's stars Sam Roche and all-time points scorer Barak Swartzz, and another debutant 18-year-old Ron Changel.
The new-look lineup started slowly up against Netzer Sereni, one of Liga Alef's strongest sides and one of the favorites to compete for the championship this season.
At some point in the first half we did find our rhythm, with Barak Swarrtz and Ron Changel in particular, showing the kind of offensive aggression that got us back into the game.
However, by half-time we were again trailing, by 6 points, leaving Head Coach AJ Mitnick with some work to do in the break. His inspiring words worked perfectly, as we started the second half on a 9-0 run to go into the lead.
Yet, those initial minutes were our best of the half as our opponents again took control and by the 4th quarter had a commanding double-digit lead to which we would never recover.
Yaniv Green led our scoring on his debut with 17 points, while there were also respectable contributions from Sam Roche (16), Barak Swarttz (12) and Ron Changel (10).
On Tuesday we travel to Gedera to take on Maccabi Nahum in our first away game of the season, before going on a 3-week break.