Hapoel Jerusalem outclassed Hapoel Beer Sheva 78-62 to advance to the Winner Cup semifinals where they will face Hapoel Holon on Wednesday night. The Reds were in control from the get go as Zach Hankins was a dominant in the paint while Speedy Smith hit his shots to help Aleksandar Dzikic’s team to the victory.
Levi Randolph, Oz Blayzer and Zach Hankins all scored early to give Hapoel Jerusalem a very early double digit lead but with the insertion of Ron Zipper Hapoel Beer Sheva got back into the game but the capital city reds grabbed a 20-13 lead after ten minutes of play. Yovel Zoosman went from deep to begin the second quarter, Hankins continued to score inside with ease one basket after the next as Aleksandar Dzikic’s team went up 40-23 at halftime.
Joaquin Szuchman, JaKeenan Gant and Brandon Sampson began to chip away at the lead and drop the deficit to single digits, but a pair of triples from Speedy Smith and a jumper to keep Jerusalem in front 55-44 after thirty minutes of action. Sam Iorio and Zipper dropped triples, Randolph and Smith came back with points to quell the comeback, while Blayzer, Hankins and Zoosman put the final touches on the win.
Hankins led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Smith added 19 points and Randolph chipped in with 14 points in the win. Sampson scored 15 points and Gant added 11 points in the loss.
Speedy Smith spoke about the win, “I want to congratulate the team on the win and we are taking it one day at a time right now. We are growing together and overall the win was most important. We are defensive team as we have the same coach. Playing Holon should be an exciting game and I am looking forward to it.”
“This was a preseason game as far as we are concerned,” Beer Sheva assistant coach Yoav Shamir said. “We made some comebacks but couldn’t make it all the way. We are looking to be an aggressive team and we want to continue to develop our Israeli players. Whoever his playing well will play.”