Nahariya defeated Nes Ziona 91-86 to advance to the Israel State Cup Final where they will face the winner of the semifinal between Hapoel Jerusalem and Maccabi Rishon Le’Zion. In a rough and tumble battle, the northerners led from wire to wire as they got out of the gate with a 11-0 run thanks to sharp shooting by guard Dominic Waters. Daequan Cook tried to match Waters shot for shot, but Nes Ziona’s supporting cast couldn’t match Nahariya’s fire power.
Waters ended the game with 28 points and 6 assists, Diamon Simpson scored 14 points while Egor Koulechov and Jerel McNeal added 12 points a piece in the win. Daequan Cook led all scorers with 35 points hitting 8 three pointers while Corey Fisher chipped in with 15 points in the defeat for Nes Ziona.
Jerel McNeal hit a jumper, Dominic Waters drilled a triple and a floater while Tony Gaffney slammed home a massive dunk to go on an 11-0 run to get the game underway in fine fashion for Nahariya. But Nes Ziona Coach Nadav Zilberstein inserted JP Tokoto to freshen up the offense which he immediately did with a huge alleyoop to cut the Nahariya lead to 14-11 with under three minutes remaining in the first quarter. However, Waters was the man with the hot hand as he scored two more 3-pointers and a pair of jumpers to end the frame with 17 points and a 27-19 lead for Nahariya.
Diamon Simpson picked up where Waters left off as he opened the second quarter with 7 straight points but Daequan Cook came back for Nes Ziona to score from deep as Danny Franco’s northern squad continued to lead 36-26 midway through the frame. Egor Koulechov and Waters found the bottom of the basket for Nahariya, while Tal Dunne tried to keep Nes Ziona close, but points by Gaffney and Waters bumped the lead up to 47-32 with 2:30 remaining in the first half. However, Golan Gutt and Corey Fisher each scored 3-pointers to help Nes Ziona to a 9-0 run to cut the gap to 47-41 to close out the first twenty minutes of action.
Gutt began the third quarter with a layup, while Dunne and Jeff Withey scored as well to pull Nes Ziona even at 48-48 but another Waters triple from downtown, a Koulechov dunk and a 3-pointer by McNeal gave Nahariya a 56-48 lead halfway through the frame. A pair of Eyal Shulman free throws, a Simpson layup and another dunk by Koulechov put Nahariya in front 69-54 with ten minutes remaining in the game.
Cook kept hitting his shot from 3-point land and almost singlehandedly cut the Nahariya lead to 71-67 with 6:54 left in regulation time. Fisher scored points but Niv Misgav answered at the other end while Itay Segev and JP Tokoto exchanged baskets as Nahariya continued to hold onto a slim 77-74 advantage with 3:21 to go. Gaffney and Waters each lined up for a triple to give the Northeners some breathing room 83-74 but Cook kept scoring to keep Nes Ziona alive. However, with the action heating up on the court, Dunne and McNeal got into a shoving match which resulted in both being ejected with 1:23 to play. Waters and Koulechov hit their free throws late for Nahariya as they advanced to the Israel State Cup Final with a 91-86 victory.