Hapoel Jerusalem forward Donta Smith (right) and Derwin Kitchen.
(photo credit: LIRON MOLDOVAN/BSL)
Hapoel Jerusalem finally returned to winning ways on Thursday night, advancing to the quarterfinals of the State Cup with a comfortable 94-63 win over Ramat Hasharon of the National League.
Jerusalem entered the game on the back of five straight defeats over all competitions and spent recent days trying to minimize the damage of another Donta Smith scandal.
Smith was fined $25,000 after treating the club’s fans to an obscene gesture with his middle finger as he walked off the floor to their boos following three freethrow misses in the closing seconds of Monday’s two-point BSL defeat to Maccabi Haifa.
Smith had 16 points, eight assists and six rebounds on Thursday, with Bracey Wright leading Jerusalem with 26 points.
Jerusalem will visit Maccabi Rishon Lezion in a tough test in the quarterfinals on Sunday, with Isaiah Swann’s basket with 0.9 seconds to play giving Rishon a 74-72 triumph over Bnei Herzliya on Thursday.
Swann finished with 20 points for Rishon, while Jasper Johnson had 20 points for Herzliya.
In another all-BSL showdown in the last eight, Maccabi Haifa will host Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.
Haifa beat Hapoel Holon 99-87 on Thursday behind another excellent performance by Rene Rougeau, who was two assists shy of a triple-double. Rougeau finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, while Ike Ofoegbu had 23 points for the winners. Jordan Taylor scored 19 points for Holon.
Gilboa edged Maccabi Hod Hasharon of the National League 76-75 thanks to Alex Young’s three-pointer with 10 seconds remaining.
Hapoel Eilat had to dig deeper than expected before eking out an 82-78 win over Kiryat Gat of the National League.
Eilat will face the only remaining non-BSL team in the draw on Sunday when it visits Elitzur Barak Netanya. Netanya beat Ironi Nahariya 90-84 on Thursday behind 23 points and 18 rebounds from Herb Pope.