Hap Jerusalem, Holon soar into State Cup semifinals

The Reds will be joined in the draw for the semis by Hapoel Holon.

Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Jerusalem began its run towards a possible third-consecutive State Cup title on Thursday with a 110-78 rout of Maccabi Givat Shmuel at Malha Arena. Jerusalem, which came back from a 20-point deficit to beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in last year's final, was given a bye to the this season's quarterfinals as the reigning cup holder. The Reds will be joined in the draw for the semis by Hapoel Holon, which also progressed with ease on Thursday, outplaying Ironi Ashkelon on the way to an 88-74 road victory. The first two quarterfinals were played on Wednesday when Ironi Nahariya and Maccabi Haifa advanced, beating Bnei Hashron and Hapoel Afula respectively. Maccabi Tel Aviv was knocked out in the previous round by Nahariya. Roger Powell scored 19 points for Jerusalem, which had six players in double figures for the second game in a row. The hosts took control in the first quarter, scoring 12 unanswered points in the opening minutes. By halfway through the second, Jerusalem led by 22 (40-19) and the visitors never got back into the game. In Ashkelon, Luis Flores and Brian Tolbert scored 18 points for Holon, which surged ahead in the second period and maintained its lead for the remainder of the game. Rashon Turner scored 21 points and grabbed 11 boards for Ashkelon, with Steve Burtt adding 19 points. Also Thursday, an Israel Basketball Association tribunal handed out punishments to Hapoel Holon and Maccabi Haifa. Holon was given a NIS 25,000 fine for not having a replacement basketball hoop, as required, when one of the rims broke during Sunday's game against Ironi Ashkelon. The game, which will be replayed, was called-off with 4:26 remaining in the first period after Ashkelon's Rashon Turner damaged the rim beyond repair with a thunderous dunk. Haifa was handed a NIS 30,000 penalty after one of its fans threw a smoke bomb during Sunday's game against Maccabi Tel Aviv at the Nokia Arena. The team was also given a two-year suspended sentence of two games in front of empty stands.