Maccabi Rishon Lezion guard Shawn Dawson.
(photo credit: ODED KARNI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv overcame a lax first half performance to defeat Hapoel Gilboa/ Galil of the National League on the way to the State Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday night, while Maccabi Rishon Lezion and Bnei Herzliya beat BSL opponents to reach the last eight.
The yellow-and-blue made hard work of what should have been a straight-forward victory, taking a first step towards defending the only title it won last season after ultimately claiming an 83-61 win.
A 10-2 run to end the third quarter (64- 50) blew open what had been a tight game.
Guy Pnini led five Maccabi players in double figures with 19 points, with Jason Sigers scoring 23 points for the hosts.
Three days after losing in Israel’s southernmost city, Rishon overcome Hapoel Eilat, winning 89-83 at home.
Eilat had the edge after one period (22- 21), but Rishon pulled ahead in the closing minutes of the first half, taking a 48-39 gap into the break. The margin reached 20 points (64-44) midway through the third frame following Shawn Dawson’s basket, and Eilat’s 12-3 run to end the game may have made the final score-line more respectable, but was of little consolation for the visitors.
Dawson had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Rishon, with Darryl Monroe contributing 24 points and 12 boards. Alade Aminu led Eilat with 20 points and nine rebounds.
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“We saw the strength of our team tonight,” said Rishon coach Sharon Drucker. “We were determined and aggressive and this is a good win against a strong team.”
Herzliya beat Ironi Nahariya 88-85 thanks to clutch shooting by Karam Mashour. After going scoreless in the first 38 minutes of the game, Mashour found his touch when it mattered most. Nahariya was ahead by eight points (74-66) with six minutes remaining, but Herzliya never lost hope and Mashuar’s three-pointer with 1:21 minutes remaining gave the visitors an 81-80 lead. Another Mashuar triple with 48.8 seconds to play took the gap to four points and Herzliya clinched its place in the next round.
Drew Crawford led Herzliya with 25 points and seven rebounds, with Cameron Clark finishing with 29 points and 10 rebounds for Nahariya.
“We didn’t deserve to win, but the spirit of our team helped us find a way into the next round,” said Herzliya coach Micky Gorka.
The five remaining quarterfinalists will be decided on Thursday. After being beaten only by Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final last year, Hapoel Jerusalem begins its quest for a fifth cup in its history and a first since 2008.
Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Haifa in a tricky tie, especially coming on the back of a surprise loss to Maccabi Ashdod in the BSL.
However, Hapoel has lost just one of 10 games at the Jerusalem Arena this season, and that only came against Nizhny Novgorod in Eurocup action. Jerusalem edged Haifa 86-84 in overtime in BSL action at Romema Arena earlier this month, but Haifa bounced back and has won its last two games to improve to 7-5 in the BSL.
There will be one more all-BSL showdown on Thursday, with Hapoel Tel Aviv welcoming Maccabi Kiryat Gat. Hapoel will be aiming to kick-start its season with a run in the cup after losing for the fourth time in five BSL games earlier this week, falling 94-88 to Ironi Ness Ziona.
There will be at least one National League representative in the last eight, with Hapoel Ramat Gan/Givataim facing Maccabi Hod Hasharon in a showdown between second division teams.
Elsewhere Thursday, Hapoel Kfar Saba (National League) hosts Maccabi Ashdod and Hapoel Migdal Haemek (National League) welcomes Ironi Ness Ziona.
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