Hapoel Jerusalem easily disposed of Nes Ziona 114-87 to advance to the Final Four and a date with Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion on Sunday in the semifinals. The Reds took control of the game in the second quarter and went 21/42 from beyond the arc as Oded Katash’s squad cruised to the 27-point victory and wrapped up a two games to none sweep over Nadav Zilberstein’s team.
Jeremy Pargo led the Reds with 22 points going 6/8 from long distance, Nimrod Levi added 21 points, Tamir Blatt scored 16 points and dished out 8 assists while Suleiman Braimoh chipped in with 14 points in the win. JP Tokoto scored 23 points as Cameron Oliver and Raviv Limonad each scored 15 points as Nes Ziona was bounced from the playoffs.
Rayvonte Rice scored early for Nes Ziona as the hosts took a 12-9 lead midway through the first quarter. Suleiman Braimoh, James Feldeine and John Holland all found the bottom of the basketball as Jerusalem began to heat up but JP Tokoto helped Nes Ziona maintain a 28-27 lead after ten minutes of play.
Nimrod Levi hit a trio of triples and Feldeine scored as well as the Reds took a 43-36 advantage with 4:27 left in the second quarter. Tamir Blatt and Braimoh put in easy points for Oded Katash’s squad as Jeremy Pargo hit another buzzer beater at the end of the first half to give Jerusalem a 57-44 lead.
Idan Zalmanson got to work inside with a couple of baskets for Jerusalem to begin the third quarter but Cam Oliver who had been quiet all game long due to early foul trouble hit a 3-pointer as did Limonad to keep the gap at 13 points, 66-53 in favor of the Reds midway through the frame. Tokoto and Limonad tried to keep Nes Ziona in the game but Blatt and Emanuel Terry answered for the visitors as they took a 84-70 lead into the final frame.
Oliver found the basket inside and outside but so did Levi as Jerusalem kept pouring on the points as they increased their advantage to 20-points, 99-79 with 6:38 left in regulation time. Pargo went from deep, Levi scored in the paint and Daniel Rosenbaum drilled a comer 3-pointer as the Reds ran away with the 114-87 win.
Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion punched their ticket to the Final Four with a 101-82 win over Maccabi Haifa to sweep the best of 3 series two games to none. After a close first half that saw the Greens in front 43-42 thanks to Speedy Smith and Andrew Andrews, Rishon turned up the offense as Alex Hamilton, Darryl Monroe and D’Angelo Harrison dominated the second half to run away with the 19-point victory. Hamilton led the way with 26 points and 6 assists, Darryl Monroe added 25 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals while Harrison chipped in with 13 points, 6 boards, 6 helpers and 4 steals in the win. Speedy Smith was the Haifa high scorer with 21 points and Reggie Upshaw added 16 points in the defeat.