State Cup Hoops: Ashkelon advances to quarters by beating Kiryat Ata

Maccabi parts ways with out-of-favor big man Esteban Batista.

Batista 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Batista 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Ironi Ashkelon became the fourth team to book its place in the State Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, defeating Ironi Kiryat Ata 98-91. Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Holon, received byes into the last eight, while Maccabi Haifa advanced to the quarters last month with a victory over Hapoel Galil/Elyon Gilboa. At Ashkelon, the hosts surprisingly trailed by six points (53-47) at the break, but took the lead in the third period and held-off Kiryat Ata in the closing minutes. Rashon Turner led the winners, scoring 25 points, with Steve Burtt and Or Eitan adding 17 and 15 points respectively. Draelon Barnes scored 28 points for Kiryat Ata. Three more teams will progress to the last eight on Sunday. Ironi Ramat Gan, which has won three straight BSL games, hosts Bnei Hasharon, which is brimming with confidence after beating Maccabi Tel Aviv and also winning in the Eurocup last week. Maccabi Rishon Lezion visits Maccabi Givat Shmuel in an encounter between two teams which have each lost their last three BSL games. Also Sunday, Maccabi Hod Hasharon hosts Hapoel Afula, with the winner to be the only National League team in the quarterfinals. In the main game of the last 16, Ironi Nahariya hosts Maccabi Tel Aviv on Monday. On Saturday, Maccabi parted ways with out-of-favor big man Esteban Batista. The Uruguayan, who averaged 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in the Euroleague last season, got little play time under Effi Birenboim and even less after Pini Gershon was named as coach. Batista took part in only five of Maccabi's eight Euroleague games this season and was on-court for a mere nine minutes per game, averaging 3.6 points and 2.6 rebounds. "I feel a little sad. This isn't the way I'd like to leave the team, but this is a basketball player's life," said Batista, who left Israel on Saturday and is set to sign with Russian club Triumph Lyubertsy in the coming days. Jerusalem also made changes to its roster on Saturday, releasing Rashon Clark. The American only took part in seven games in all competitions for Hapoel, failing to live up to coach Guy Goodes's expectations.