Lifeless Reds eliminated at home by Netanya; Hapoel Tel Aviv stuns Maccabi Haifa in quarterfinals.
By ALLON SINAI
Hapoel Jerusalem’s season went from bad to worse when it was knocked out of the State Cup on Sunday night, while National League leader Hapoel Tel Aviv continued its perfect campaign with another upset victory in the quarterfinals.After suffering an early exit in the Eurocup and struggling in the BSL, Jerusalem was hoping to find some consolation in the cup, but it deserved no better than its humbling 64-58 defeat at the hands of Barak Netanya at Malha Arena on Sunday.Oded Katash’s men scored just 23 points in the first half, and despite coming back to take the lead in the fourth period, they lacked the character to close out the game against a Netanya side which has also struggled in recent weeks.Tony Washam scored 20 points for Netanya, with Will Solomon scoring 16 for Jerusalem, which seems to be hitting new lows with every week that passes.There will, however, be one Hapoel team in the semifinals at Nokia Arena, with Hapoel Tel Aviv stunning its second straight BSL team on Sunday, beating Maccabi Haifa 106-92 in overtime.Tel Aviv has yet to lose this season, also holding a 13-0 record in Israel’s second basketball division, and proved it is more than capable of competing and beating top-flight opponents, despite only having two foreigners on its roster due to National League regulations.Hapoel could face arch-rival Maccabi Tel Aviv in the semis, with the yellowand- blue thrashing Ironi Ashkelon 105- 75 at Nokia.AdvertisementMaccabi led by double figures (28-18) after 10 minutes and rendered the second half complete garbage time by opening a 61-35 margin by the break.Lior Eliyahu had 19 points and eight rebounds for Maccabi, with Chuck Eidson adding 16 points and nine assists and David Blu scoring 15 points.Rashon Turner and Thomas Terrell scored 16 points each for Ashkelon.Maccabi Ashdod continued its dream season on Sunday, edging Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 72-71 to make the last four.A tight game came down to the final minute, with Ramel Bradley the hero for Ashdod once more, scoring the hosts’ final point from the free-throw line after blocking Tyler Wilkerson at the other end.Josh Duncan had 29 points for the winners, with Jack McClinton scoring 18 for Gilboa.At Hadar Yosef, Utter scored Hapoel’s first 10 points of the night, giving the hosts an early 10-4 lead.A Matan Naor basket increased the gap to seven (23-16), but after 10 minutes the lead was down to just a single point (27-26).The game would remain extremely tight in the second period as well, with Hapoel still having the edge at the break (45-43).An Elishay Kadir basket gave Haifa its first lead of the game (48-47) at the start of the third quarter, but the visitors could not break Tel Aviv’s spirit and with 10 minutes to play Hapoel had a 69-63 margin.An Elad Eliyahu three-pointer to start the final frame extended the cushion to nine points, but Haifa never allowed the hosts to pull too far ahead and Marco Killingsworth tied the score at 87-87 with 7.8 seconds to go.Brian Asbury and Utter had chances to win the game for Hapoel in regulation, but more than made up for their misses with a superb overtime period.Asbury scored 14 points in the extra five minutes, nine more than the entire Haifa team, and Hapoel fans and players celebrated long after the final whistle was sounded.Utter had 32 points and 15 rebounds for Hapoel, with Asbury scoring 30 and Matan Naor adding 14.Killingsworth and Sylven Landesberg had 18 points each for Haifa.
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