Hap TA, Mac TA, Rishon and Eilat progress to Cup semis

Hapoel Tel Aviv claims 83-71 victory over Hapoel Jerusalem, while Maccabi Tel Aviv win 76-58 against Bnei Herzliya.

Hapoel Tel Aviv's Raviv Limonad celebrating a basket 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv's Raviv Limonad celebrating a basket 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv sent Hapoel Jerusalem packing from the State Cup on Thursday night, while Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Eilat and Maccabi Rishon Lezion also all advanced to the semifinals.
Both Hapoel Tel Aviv and Jerusalem entered Thursday’s showdown at Hadar Yosef Arena in excellent form, but the hosts seized the initiative from the start and remained in control until the final buzzer to claim an 83-71 victory.
Maccabi Tel Aviv surged to a 28-7 margin in the first period against Bnei Herzliya and maintained a double-digit gap throughout the night on the way to an easy 76-58 win at Nokia Arena.
Sofoklis Schortsanitis led Maccabi with 12 points, with Guy Pnini, Yogev Ohayon and David Blu netting 11 points each.
Michael Umah had 17 points for Herzliya.
Tzvika Sherf’s return to Israeli basketball couldn’t have gone any better on Thursday, with Rishon Lezion beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 84-77.
Sherf was out of coaching for more than two years and hadn’t guided an Israeli team in more than five years. However, his motivational skills will never be outdated and an 11-2 run to end the first half gave Rishon a 10- point gap (42-32) it comfortably maintained after the break.
Brian Hopkins had 35 points for Rishon, with Tasmin Mitchell adding 14 points.
Nimrod Tishman led five Gilboa players in double-figures with 16 points.
Hapoel Eilat had to work much harder than expected against the National League’s lone representative in the last eight, Ramat Hasharon, but ultimately claimed a 107-103 win in overtime.
Ramat Hasharon stunned Eilat with a 14-3 run in the final five minutes of regulation, with Evgeni Lioutrine’s jumper tying the score at 88-88.
However, Eilat would breathe a huge sigh of relief after edging the hosts in the extra period to secure its progress to the last four.
Kevin Palmer led six Eilat players in double-digits with 18 points, with Josh Alexander scoring 28 points for Ramat Hasharon.
The draw for the last four will be held on Tuesday, with the semifinals and final to take place at Nokia Arena in Tel Aviv on February 3 and 6, respectively.
At Hadar Yosef, the hosts got off to the stronger start, but Jerusalem remained within striking distance, trailing by a slender five-point gap (20-15) after 10 minutes.
However, the hosts would pull ahead at the start of the second period, with two consecutive three-pointers by Carlon Brown opening a 13-point gap (32-19).
Jerusalem closed back to within four points with an 11-2 run (34- 30), but Tel Aviv would have the last laugh of the first half, with Jonathan Skjoldebrand hitting a three to open a 42-35 margin.
Four straight points by Raviv Limonad took Tel Aviv’s cushion back to 13 points (61-48), only for the visitors to cut the deficit back to seven points (61-54) ahead of the final frame.
However, they would come no closer, with a 9-0 Tel Aviv run building a 16-point lead (72-56) from which Jerusalem never threatened to return.
Brown led Hapoel with 19 points, with Josh Owens contributing 17 points and nine rebounds. Limonad had 16 points and eight assists, continuing his remarkable run that has seen him score at least 15 points in all 11 of his team’s BSL games as well as its past two cup contests.
Josh Duncan had 22 points and nine boards for Jerusalem, with Derwin Kitchen adding 15 points for Brad Greenberg’s team, which had won its previous six games in local league and cup action.