Eilat stays hot, into State Cup quarters

Beersheba, Rishon, Gilboa/Galil also qualify for last-8 • Holon, Jerusalem triumph in BSL

By JOSHUA HALICKMAN
December 26, 2018 08:39
3 minute read.
ALEX HAMILTON (front) led Maccabi RIshon Lezion to a dominant 98-66 victory over Ironi Nahariya on M

ALEX HAMILTON (front) led Maccabi RIshon Lezion to a dominant 98-66 victory over Ironi Nahariya on Monday night in State Cup last-16 action, scoring a game-high 21 points and adding nine assists. Rishon will face Maccabi Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

 
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Israel State Cup action was at the forefront of the local basketball scene at the beginning of the week as Hapoel Eilat won its eighth game in a row over all competitions with a 97-88 victory at Bnei Herzliya to advance to the quarterfinal, where it will face Hapoel Holon.

Playing without Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Jonathan Skjoldebrand, Sharon Drucker’s squad again hit on all cylinders to defeat the hosts, who lost star Karam Mashour to an illness. Or Leumi scored Herzliya’s first 12 points of the contest, but Eilat held a 20-19 lead after 10 minutes and increased the advantage to 48-41 at halftime thanks to solid play by Suleiman Braimoh, Fredric Bourdillon and J.P. Tokoto.

Eilat continued to control the game as Eijah Bryant and guard David Cohen helped lead the visitors to a 10-0 run and the nine-point win.

Braimoh ended the night with 24 points, Tokoto added 19 points and nine rebounds for Eilat while Leumi dropped 18 points in the loss.

Meanwhile, Hapoel Beersheba defeated Ness Ziona 93-83 to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals, where it will play the winner of Hapoel Tel Aviv-vs-Ashdod.

Jordan Swing put in a magnificent performance for Beersheba with 31 points. Visiting Ness Ziona jumped out to a 24-17 lead as Tal Dunne and Golan Gutt helped Nadav Zilberstein’s side to the first-quarter advantage. However, Taylor Braun and Swing got into the swing of things for the hosts as they ran away with the 10-point victory.

Swing shot 73% from the field and went 5-of-8 from three-point range, Braun added 19 points while a trio of players each scored nine points. Dunne led Nes Ziona with 16 points while Gutt and Daequan Cook each clocked in with 15 points apiece.

Maccabi Rishon Lezion thrashed Nahariya 98-66 to earn its place in the quarters and a date with Maccabi Tel Aviv thanks to an outstanding game by Alex Hamilton with 21 points and nine assists.

Diamon Simpson, who just signed with Rishon, contributed 15 points going 6-of-7 from the field in his return to Israel, while DeShawn Stephens also scored 15 points in the win. Igor Nestrenko scored 14 points to lead Nahariya.

Rishon Lezion jumped out to a 20-15 lead after the first quarter and never looked back as it led wire to wire in a game in which it scored 21 fast-break points and 17 second-chance points while controlling the boards 41-25 to run away with a 32-point victory.

Hapoel Gilboa/Galil demolished second-division Maccabi Haifa 87-58 in the Carmel on the coattails of Greg Whittington’s 18 points and Netanel Artzi’s 16 points.

Roman Sorkin and Daniel Kuperberg helped the Greens stay within striking distance after 10 minutes, down by only a point at 14-13. But that’s the closest they would get as the visitors rolled off a 31-15 second quarter to put the game away early and earn a place in the next round, where they will play Hapoel Jerusalem.

In league play, Hapoel Holon handily defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv at 92-74 as guard Corey Walden sliced up the Reds’ defense with 25 points and seven assists in the contest.

Walden, Darion Atkins and DaQuan Jones helped Dan Shamir’s Holon jump out to a 33-23 lead after 10 minutes and increased the lead to 40-26 early on in the second quarter.

Jerel McNeal led a 10-0 Tel Aviv run, but Guy Pnini closed out the half with a three-pointer to give Holon a 53-38 advantage. Tomer Ginat drew the hosts to within nine points (66-57) after 39 minutes, but Walden and Jones sealed the deal in the fourth quarter to take the 18-point win.

Hapoel Jerusalem easily disposed of Maccabi Ashdod 87-64 in the port city.

Josh Owens starred for the Reds with 17 points and 16 assists while Bar Timor dropped 17 points and J’Covan Brown added 15 points in the win. Lis Shoshi was the dominant player for the host’s with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Jerusalem jumped out to a 27-17 lead after 10 minutes thanks to Timor’s nine points and Owens’s eight points while Shoshi answered with 10. Jake Pemberton drilled home a pair of three’s to keep Ashdod hanging around, but Brown helped give the Reds a 50-34 advantage at the half and they never looked back.

Owens, Timor and Lior Eliyahu helped Jerusalem pull away in the third quarter as Oded Katash’s squad took a 66-49 into the final frame, which offered youngster Tomer Levinson the opportunity to record five points in as many minutes as Jerusalem ran away with the 23-point triumph.

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