Basketball State Cup & League Action

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Israel State Cup action was at the forefront at the beginning of the week as Hapoel Eilat won their 8th game in a row across all competitions with a 97-88 victory at Bnei Herzliya to advance to the quarterfinals of the competition where they will face Hapoel Holon. Playing without Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Jonathan Skjoldebrand, Sharon Drucker’s squad again hit on all cylinders to defeat the host’s who lost star Karam Mashour to an illness. Or Leumi scored Herzliya’s first 12 points of the contest but Eilat held a 20-19 lead after ten minutes and increased their advantage to 48-41 at halftime thanks to solid play by Suleiman Braimoh, Fredric Bourdillon and JP Tokoto. Eilat continued to control the game as Eijah Bryant and guard David Cohen helped lead the visitor’s to a 10-0 run and the 9 point win. Braimoh ended the night with 24 points, Tokoto added 19 points and 9 rebounds for Eilat while Leumi dropped 18 points in the loss.

Hapoel Beer Sheva defeated Nes Ziona 93-83 to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals where they will play Hapoel Tel Aviv as Jordan Swing put in a magnificent performance with 31 points. Visiting Nes Ziona jumped out to a 24-17 lead as Tal Dunne and Golan Gutt helped Nadav Zilberstein’s side to the first quarter advantage. However, Taylor Braun and Swing got into the swing of things for the host’s as they ran away with the ten point victory. Swing shot 73% from the field and went 5/8 from three, Braun added 19 points while a trio of players each scored 9 points. Dunne led Nes Ziona with 16 points while Gutt and Daequan Cook each clocked in with 15 points a piece.

Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion thrashed Nahariya 98-66 to earn their place in the quarters and a date with Maccabi Tel Aviv thanks to an outstanding game by Alex Hamilton with 21 points and 9 assists. Diamon Simpson, who just signed with Rishon contributed 15 points going 6/7 from the field in his return to Israel while DeShawn Stephens also scored 15 points in the win. Igor Nestrenko scored 14 points to lead Nahariya. Rishon Le’Zion jumped out to a 20-15 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as they led wire to wire in a game that they scored 21 fast break points and 17 second chance points while controlling the boards 41-25 to run away with a 32 point victory.

Hapoel Gilboa/Galil demolished second division Maccabi Haifa 87-58 in the Carmel on the coattails of Greg Whittington’s 18 points and Netanel Artzi’s 16 points. Roman Sorkin and Daniel Kuperberg helped the Greens stay within striking distance after ten minutes, down by only 1-point 14-13. But that’s the closest they would get as the visitors rolled off a 31-15 second quarter to put the game away early and earn a place in the next round where they will play Hapoel Jerusalem.

In league play, Hapoel Holon handily defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv at 92-74 as guard Corey Walden sliced up the Reds defense with 25 points and 7 assists in the contest. Walden, Darion Atkins and DaQuan Jones helped Dan Shamir’s Holon jump out to a 33-23 lead after ten minutes and increased their lead to 40-26 early on in the second quarter. Jerel McNeal led a 10-0 Tel Aviv run, but Guy Pnini closed out the half with a 3-pointer to give Holon a 53-38 advantage. Tomer Ginat drew the host’s to within 9-points 66-57 after thirty minutes, but Walden and Jones sealed the deal in the fourth quarter to take the 18 point win.

Hapoel Jerusalem easily disposed of Maccabi Ashdod 87-64 in the port city. Josh Owens starred for the Reds with 17 points and 16 assists while Bar Timor dropped 17 points and J’Covan Brown added 15 points in the win. Lis Shoshi was the dominant player for the host’s with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Jerusalem jumped out to a 27-17 lead after ten minutes thanks to Timor’s 9 points and Owens’ 8 points while Shoshi answered with 10. Jake Pemberton drilled home a pair of 3’s to keep Ashdod hanging around but Brown helped give the Reds a 50-34 advantage at the half and never looked back. Owens, Timor and Lior Eliyahu helped Jerusalem pull away in the 3rd quarter as Oded Katash’s squad took a 66-49 into the final frame which offered youngster Tomer Levinson the opportunity to record 5 points in as many minutes as Jerusalem ran away with the 23-point, 87-64 victory.

Hapoel Tel Aviv took out Maccabi Ashdod 101-73 thanks to 20 points by DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell.