The Winner Cup Preseason Winner League Tournament got underway with 4 Round of 16 Games on Thursday and Friday as the quarterfinals are now set for Monday and Tuesday with a Tel Aviv Derby Delight:
Monday September 23 18:45 – Hapoel Eilat vs Nes Ziona
Monday September 23 20:50 – Hapoel Jerusalem vs Hapoel Beer Sheva
Tuesday September 24 18:45 – Hapoel Holon vs Nahariya
Tuesday September 24 20:50 – Maccabi Tel Aviv vs Hapoel Tel Aviv
Nahariya eliminated the defending tournament champs Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion at Beit Maccabi 73-70 as Egor Koulechov with 17 points exacted revenge on this former team. Jeff Adrien added 13 points and 7 rebounds, Dominic Waters chipped in with 10 points and 7 assists while veteran big man Tony Gaffney scored 9 points in the win. Jordan Swing led the Rishon scorers with 14 points, newcomer Devon Saddler added 13 points and Oz Blayzer scored 12 points in the defeat.
Nahariya Coach Danny Franco spoke about the contest that was, “The game was played at a quick pace during the first half and then things slowed down in the second half and play suffered due to the players still getting fit. What I can take away from the game is that even during the times when we weren’t playing as well, the players gave it their all on the court. That means we have a good basis for the new season.”
Tony Gaffney also commented about the clash, “We fought and played hard. We scraped on defense playing one on one and as a team. There is a lot of rust and some of us still aren’t in game shape. We played a team that had its core together for a year so I’m very happy with the effort, but we still have a lot to work on.”
He also talked about his love of Israel, “I love this place and hands down my second home. My son was born here and goes to an Israeli school and it feels like I’ve played 17 years here! It’s a great country with a lot of good people and has the best food in the world. I am very happy to be back here. Danny Franco and I are like an old married couple and he knows what he’s going to get from me as there’s a lot of trust between us. I think we have a chance to do something very special with these guys. ”
Nes Ziona downed Maccabi Haifa 90-68 as Golan Gutt went off for 26 points. Corey Fisher and Jeremy Hollowell each scored 13 points a piece while marksman Daequan Cook added 11 points for Nadav Zilberstein’s squad. Eric Anderson with 17 points, James Young (14p) and Willy Workman (11p/13) led the way for the Greens in defeat.
Hapoel Beer Sheva dropped Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 91-72 in the southern capital. Spencer Weisz starred with 22 points going 4/6 from beyond the arc, Steve Zack added 16 points and 12 rebounds, TJ Williams scored 13 points while Nate Linhart chipped in with 12 points and John Petrucelli scoped 11 points in the win. Justin Tillman (16p) and Edgar Sosa (14p) led Lior Lubin’s team in the loss.
Hapoel Tel Aviv easily disposed of Maccabi Ashdod 111-92 as defense was hard to come by over the course of 40 minutes. Tomer Ginat continued his fine play with 28 points, Malcolm Griffin added 20 points while Desi Rodriguez with 17 points and Joaquin Szuchman with 13 points and 12 assists handed Ariel Beit Halachmi’s squad the victory. LaDontae Henton scored 20 points and Elijah Johnson added 15 points for Brad Greenberg’s side.