Winner Shot! Anthony Hickey helps Haifa to first State Cup semis since ’99 with win over Holon, Nes Ziona drops Beer Sheva

Jan 14, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Hapoel Haifa stunned Hapoel Holon 80-78 to advance to the semifinals of the Israel State Cup. Anthony Hickey starred for the Carmel Reds all game long as he scored at will and hit the winning bucket to send Sharon Drucker’s team into the Final Four.

Hickey began to make his mark right from the outset of the game while Will Rayman also hit his shots from beyond the arc to put Haifa into the lead 42-35 at halftime. But Joe Ragland, Shawn Dawson and Marvin Jones helped Guy Goodes’s squad to a 20-2 third quarter run to give Holon a 64-59 lead after thirty minutes as it seemed the momentum was all on the hosts side.

Anthony Hickey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

However, Ofek Avital and Devonte Upson pushed the Carmel Reds back into the lead as time wound down but CJ Harris found his stroke to tie the game up at 78-78 with 20 seconds left in the game. With Hickey taking the ball out of a Haifa timeout, the guard silenced the crowd when he hit the game winning jumper with 2 seconds left to sew up the win.

Hickey led the way with 24 points and 8 assists, Rayman added 12 points while Avital and Upson each scored 8 points in the victory. Ragland scored 19 points, Harris chipped in with 18 points and Jones put in 13 points in the loss.

Sharon Drucker – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

“It was a huge game and our 3rd in the last 6 days,” Drucker began. “We lost to Holon by 2-points at home and we studied that game to see what we could do. We hit some terrific 3-pointers but they came back. At the end Hickey made the big play. This win is a prize for the entire club and it’s the first time since 1999 that we are in the semifinals. I’m so proud as to how we battled in this game.”

“It’s very disappointing and we weren’t aggressive from the get go,” Goodes said. “We didn’t play well on defense and they deserved to win the game. We win as a team and lose as a team. We weren’t focussed enough and our execution wasn’t there. We were able to cut down their lead and go in front in the third quarter, but we weren’t there on defense and they scored a lot of second chance points.”

Anthony Hickey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Game MVP Anthony Hickey spoke about the victory, “I’m thankful coach put me in the position. He drew up a a great play and I was able to help my team win and make that shot at the end. But the entire team deserves credit and the bench really did a great job as did our fans who came out to super us on the road.”

Marvin Jones reflected on the loss from his point of view, “I came out excited and it has importance and I wanted to win so to lose like this, that hurts for sure. They came out and executed, played good team basketball and the margin was not crazy. We came back, but credit to them they played hard. We didn’t play our best. The better team won tonight.”

Anthony Hickey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Anthony Hickey got busy early for Hapoel Haifa while Marvin Jones and Niv Misgav countered for Hapoel Haifa as the hosts led 7-6 midway through the first quarter. Will Rayman went for a pair from deep for Sharon Drucker’s squad, Chris Johnson found points inside for Guy Goodes’s team, Rayman again dialled up long distance, Jones scored in the paint but Hickey drove to the hoop and put in a layup and one to give the visitors a 21-18 lead after ten minutes of play.

Ofek Avital – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Ofek Avital and Hickey opened the second quarter with points, Shawn Jones hit a jumper as Spencer Weisz added a deuce, Joe Ragland came back with a 3-point play but Haifa bumped up their lead to 33-23 with 5:27 left in the first half. Javin DeLaurier came off a screen and dunked, CJ Harris drained a 3-pointer, Hickey fed Devonte Upson for an alley-oop, Ragland scored a pair of layups, Hickey nailed a 3-pointer from way, way downtown to give Haifa a 42-35 advantage at halftime.

Anthony Hickey – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Shawn Dawson began the third quarter with points, Rayman went from beyond the arc, Amit Simhon went back-to-back from deep, Hickey stole the ball and went coast to coast for a reverse layup but Ragland came back with a pair of 3-pointers to keep within striking range down 53-47 midway through the period. Johnson put in a deuce, Jones hit a jumper, Dawson went wild from downtown with a pair for a 20-2 run and Misgav added a triple to give Holon a 64-59 lead after thirty minutes of action.

Kadeem Allen – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Kadeem Allen started the final frame off with a pair of jumpers, Avital went from deep, Upson scored two inside to help Haifa retake the lead 70-65 with 5:23 remaining in regulation time. Upson found points inside, Avital drilled home a 3-pointer, Harris responded, Ragland scored off the glass, Harris added a bucket, Harris scored a 3-point play to knot the score up at 78-78 with 20.4 seconds left. But Hickey as he did all game long hit jumper to give Haifa the victory.

Haifa celebrates – Photo Credit: Yehuda Halickman

Nes Ziona downed Hapoel Beer Sheva 83-79 to punch their ticket to the Israel State Cup semifinals. Tyler Bey, Shaq Buchanan and Ronnie Harrell put Elad Hasin’s squad into the lead early on but Greg Whittington and David Efiyani helped the hosts pull to within 80-77 with a minute remaining in the game. However, DJ Cooper hit a late triple to seal the deal for Nes Ziona and send them to the Final Four.

Shaq Buchanan – Photo Credit: IBBA

Buchanan scored 22 points, Bey added 18 points and Harrell chipped in with 15 points in the win while Whittington scored 18 points and Efiyani put in 13 points in the defeat.

DJ Cooper spoke about the victory, “These games are like win and advance. We knew it was going to be tough and they are good team but we came and did our job and got the win. We take it one game at a time and take it as a team. Just try to win and get to the Final Four.”

“The defense brought us the win,” Nes Ziona coach Elad Hasin said. “We prepared for a knockout game and we said that we needed to play defense better than we had in the past. The players came in and played tough and we won and moved on. I am happy that we won after a tough week.”

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