Local Hoops: Stunned Hapoel knocked out of State Cup

Local Hoops Stunned Hap

basketball Maccabi Netanya Pinnock (photo credit: Roi Levy)
basketball Maccabi Netanya Pinnock
(photo credit: Roi Levy)
Hapoel Jerusalem fans left Malha Arena with their heads in their hands on Sunday after seeing their team suffer a shock exit in the last 16 of the State Cup. erusalem had reached the semifinals of the cup in each of the last four seasons, winning the competition twice and losing once in the final. Guy Goodes's team also had high hopes of cup success this season after an encouraging start to the campaign. However, Barak Netanya never allowed Hapoel to dictate the play on Sunday night and claimed a nail-biting 77-76 victory. "Netanya deserved to win," Goodes said. "The game was in our hands and this is very disappointing." Netanya owes its victory to three main players. Tony Washem led the winners with 22 points, while Marco Killingsworth added 20 points and 10 rebounds and Danilo Pinnock contributed 17 points and 11 boards. Sharon Sasson scored 18 points for Hapoel, which also got 15 points from Uri Kukia and 14 from Dijon Thompson. "This is a massive victory," Netanya coach Arik Alfasi said. "This might be the biggest win of my coaching career." Also Sunday, Ironi Nahariya became the eighth and final team to advance to the quarterfinals of the cup, with an 8583 victory over Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Nahariya joins Bnei Hasharon, Hapoel Gilboa/Galil, Ironi Ashkelon, Hapoel Afula, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Hapoel Holon and Netanya in Monday's quarterfinal draw. Rishon led for most of the game, but a Nahariya run in the fourth period gave the hosts a dramatic win. Lamarr Greer led Nahariya with 26 points, with Rod Grizzard scoring 28 points for Rishon in a losing cause. At Malha, Netanya got off to a flying start, with Pinnock capping a 7-0 run to begin the game. After failing to score a single point in the first three minutes of the encounter, Jerusalem suddenly found its range and went on an 11-0 splurge. Thompson's three-pointer gave the hosts an 11-7 lead, but the visitors would never lose touch and trailed by just three points (26-23) at the end of the opening frame. The second quarter was extremely tight, with the lead exchanging hands time and again and no team leading by more than four points. Netanya was ahead at the break (4340) and Pinnock extended the gap to five points at the start of the second half. However, Hapoel answered with an 11-2 run, with Sasson's triple opening a 51-47 advantage. Another Sasson three increased the margin to six points (54-48), but Netanya had no intention of falling too far behind and took the lead (55-54) once more after a 7-0 spurt, capped by a Pinnock dunk. Netanya was still in front at the end of the quarter, but only by two points (6361), and the encounter would be decided in the final 10 minutes. Nerves were taking their toll in the fourth quarter, with both teams making poor decisions and committing needless turnovers. The game was still delicately poised with five minutes to play after two points by Kukia tied the score at 68-68. Another Kukia basket gave Jerusalem the lead (72-70) with two-and-a-half minutes to play, but the game was far from over. Hapoel still enjoyed a two-point margin going into the final minute, but twice failed to extend the advantage and Pinnock silenced Malha with a three with 18 seconds remaining (75-74). Naimi would give Hapoel the lead with 10.7 seconds to play, but Shmulik Brenner hit both of his free-throws with 8.6 seconds on the clock and Netanya celebrated a stunning victory after Thompson missed at the buzzer.