Jerusalem, Holon into State Cup quarters

Reds set up date with Mac TA • Nahariya, Ness Ziona, Rishon, Herzliya, Gilboa round out last-8

SULEIMAN BRAIMOH (17) and Hapoel Jerusalem gutted out a 85-80 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the State Cup last-16 and will meet Maccabi Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals.  (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
SULEIMAN BRAIMOH (17) and Hapoel Jerusalem gutted out a 85-80 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv in the State Cup last-16 and will meet Maccabi Tel Aviv in the quarterfinals.
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon both earned their places in the Israel State Cup quarterfinals and will tip off against Maccabi Tel Aviv and Ironi Nahariya, respectively, while Hapoel Gilboa/Galil will play Ness Ziona and Maccabi Rishon Lezion will face upstart Bnei Herzliya.

The four games will take place between Saturday and Monday.

Jerusalem defeated Hapoel Tel Aviv 85-80 to advance to the quarterfinals, where arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv will be waiting. The capital Reds squad escaped upset-minded Tel Aviv as Ariel Beit Halachmi’s short roster caused Oded Katash’s team major fits throughout the 40 minutes of action.

However, once Tomer Ginat went down due to a back injury, the Tel Aviv Reds were left with a very short roster and Jerusalem was able to take advantage of the situation with its depth to escape with the win.

James Feldeine was Jerusalem’s top scorer with 22 points, J’Covan Brown added 16 points while TaShawn Thomas and Bar Timor each chipped in with 12 points apiece. Elishay Kadir, Jordan Hamilton and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each scored 17 points for Hapoel Tel Aviv in the loss.

“The most important thing is always to win,” said Jerusalem’s Brown.

“After a rough game in the Champions League we wanted to find our rhythm and although we didn’t have it at the start of the game and we stuck to it and were able to pull out the victory.”

Ginat led Hapoel Tel Aviv out of the gate with nine points as Beit Halachmi’s squad held an early lead at Hapoel Jerusalem midway through the first quarter. Tel Aviv continued to move the ball well as Hamilton and Smith Jr. hit their shots from the outside to take a 32-17 advantage after 10 minutes.

Feldeine helped Jerusalem to a 7-0 run to start the second quarter as Oded Katash’s crew cut the lead to 37-27 with five minutes remaining in the frame.

Jerusalem’s dynamic duo of Brown and Feldeine pressed as the clock wound down and found a way to head into halftime down by just four points (46-42).

Trent Lockett and Feldeine kept scoring for Jerusalem to begin the third quarter, but Joaquin Szuchman and Mark Lyons answered for Tel Aviv. However, a Feldeine layup gave the hosts a 56-55 lead midway through the third quarter.

Ginat went down in a heap and exited the game due to a back injury as Beit Halachmi’s short rotation got even shorter. But Kadir scored inside and Lyons hit a triple from the outside to keep Tel Aviv in touching distance, but Jerusalem took a 65-60 lead into the final frame.

Hapoel Tel Aviv came out strong in the fourth quarter as Smith Jr., Kadir and Szuchman ran down Jerusalem, but Brown was fouled while taking a three-pointer and drained all three shots from the charity stripe to give Katash’ side a 74-71 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation.

Timor hit a back-door layup, while Thomas and Suleiman Braimoh each slammed the ball home to allow Jerusalem to escape with a five-point victory and earn a date with the yellow-and-blue in the last-eight.

Elsewhere, Hapoel Holon got by Hapoel Beersheba 103-90 to advance to the State Cup quarterfinals, where it will face Ironi Nahariya.

Coach Sharon Drucker’s squad is beginning to pick up its stride, as it dropped Beersheba twice in the past week as well as taking a hard-fought win over Manresa of Spain in Champions League action.

Marcus Foster proved to be unstoppable once again as the guard scored 29 points, Troy Caupain added 19 points while Rich Howell chipped in with 17 points and eight rebounds.

T.J. Williams provided the firepower for Beersheba with 36 points in the loss.

Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv pummeled Maccabi Ashdod 94-57 at the port city in Israel League play.

The yellow-and-blue grabbed a 30-9 lead after 10 minutes and cruised the rest of the way to keep its perfect league record intact.

Quincy Acy got busy early on for Ioannis Sfairopoulos’s squad, ending the night with 22 points and plenty of highlight reel dunks, while Jake Cohen scored 14 points in the win. Elijah Johnson was Ashdod’s top scorer with 16 points in the defeat.

Also in league action, Ness Ziona dropped Hapoel Eilat 101-69 in a game that was never in doubt from the get-go as the hosts pulled down 53 rebounds and dished out 30 assists in the dominant win.

Raviv Limonad was the high scorer with 19 points, Golan Gutt added 18 points and Jeremy Hollowell chilled in with 14 points in the victory. Larry Gordon led Eilat with 16 points in a losing cause.