The Israel Basketball Winner Cup Preseason Tournament got underway with a number of games this week as Hapoel Jerusalem, Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion, Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel tel Aviv all moved into the quarterfinal round which will be played next week at the Drive In Arena in Tel Aviv.
Hapoel Jerusalem eased by Bnei Herzliya 98-75 in the capital city as Retin Obasohan (17 points on 4/6 from deep) and Anthony Bennett (16 points on 4/8 from behind the arc) helped lead the Reds to the win. Oren Amiel’s side will ready to play Hapoel Gilboa Galil on Sunday evening at 18:00.
Bennett who arrived in Israel with much fanfare after having been selected number one overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers certainly put his mark on the game early on with 11 points over the course of the first half. Following the matchup, the Canadian spoke about the game that was, “We got the win that’s all that matters. The fans supported us the whole game. The energy has been great on both sides and we just got to continue. It feels great to come out here and get the job done and execute.”
As for making the move to Israel to continue his career, “Just another experience, basketball is worldwide it brings everybody together. I know what I have to come here and doing the job still remains the same, so hopefully we can just continue and keep winning.”
“Honestly it’s not about me it’s about the team as a whole coming together and accomplish what we can just getting better every day every hour, leaving nothing on the floor and taking great pride.”
Bennett also spoke about how he is acclimating to his new environment, “Everything has been solid and everybody has been open arms to me. Every practice has been a great learning experience as a whole just to come out here and get the job done.”
Thon Maker and Jalen Adams also chimed in about their new team and what the club is working on to improve during the preseason:
JA: “I think establishing our identity, which is fast paced playing together and energy.”
TM: “Yeah I agree, just executing on both ends of the floor. We have a lot of guys who are ready to play so coach plays fast pace and the next guy comes in.”
How has the team been helpful as the players are acclimating to their new environs:
JA: It’s been wonderful a lot better than I expected, I didn’t know much about Jerusalem but everyone is showing me around and it’s a lot more beautiful then I expected.”
TM: “It’s beautiful really beautiful, lots of places to eat.”
As for the coach Maker is happy to have Oren Amiel on his side, “Playing for Coach O is easy- play fast get something quick in transition if you have nothing, call hold slow down and run a play.”
Hapoel Haifa knocked off Hapoel Galil Elyon 96-71 as they will now ready for a date with Hapoel Eilat next Tuesday evening at the Drive In. Scottie James continued to display quality basketball and finished the game off with 21 points and 7 rebounds while Kadeem Allen chalked ip 20 points and 4 steals in the win.
Hapoel Tel Aviv demolished Nes Ziona 105-79 as Danny Franco’s squad punched their ticket for the opportunity to play Hapoel Holon at their home arena in quarterfinal action. Idan Zalmanson led all scorers with 17 points, James Young added 16 points and Bar Timor put up 15 points and 9 assists in the victory,
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion traveled down to Hapoel Beer Sheva and took home the 80-75 win as Kris Clyburn starred for Guy Goodes team with 31 points and 9 rebounds while TJ Williams added 20 points and 6 assists in the win. Rishon will tipoff against Maccabi Tel Aviv on Wednesday September 22nd. Dererk Pardon led the way for the desert squad with 19 points and 12 rebounds as Cody Demps added 18 points in the loss.
Over in Champions League qualifying Hapoel Eilat fell to Parma 79-76 and are now slated to play in the FIBA Europe Cup. Bryon Allen did all that he colud with 28 points while Pardon posted 16 points in the loss.