Winner Cup Hoops: New Maccabi TA overpowers Ashkelon

Winner Cup Hoops New Ma

Gal mekel maccabi TA 248.88 (photo credit: Adi Avishai/BSL)
Gal mekel maccabi TA 248.88
(photo credit: Adi Avishai/BSL)
Pini Gershon's new look Maccabi Tel Aviv showed it will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming season with an overpowering performance in its 101-80 Winner Cup quarterfinal victory over Ironi Ashkelon at Jerusalem's Malha Arena on Monday evening. The speed and accuracy of the Tel Aviv forwards - most notably Alan Anderson, who finished with 21 points to lead all scorers - combined with the defensive power of players such as D'or Fishcher, ensured it was Maccabi which advanced to the semifinals of the preseason event. Ashkelon appeared to use up almost all its energy in the fight it put up in the first half, which ended 47-47. And the team in blue melted away in the final 10 minutes, when it was outscored by Tel Aviv 31-18. Tel Aviv will play Hapoel Galil/Gilboa in Wednesday's second semi after Oded Katash's team got the better of Dan Shamir's Bnei Hasharon in the early game of the night. Sunday's quarterfinal winners, Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Jerusalem, will face off in the first semi. Maccabi Tel Aviv 101, Ironi Ashkelon 80 Maccabi had a 31-19 lead at the end of the first period and started the second frame with a sharp Guy Pnini three-pointer. But Ashkelon continued to push, and a Sneed lay-up after a turnover cut the lead to just three (45-42) as the second quarter drew to a close, rousing the small but noisy contingent of Ashelon supporters behind the basket. As the seconds ticked away, a superb Moran Rot buzzer-beater tied the scores at the end of the first half. Guy Pnini had an excellent start to the second half, scoring freely to help his team open up a 64-54 advantage as the third quarter drew to a close. Fischer was back at his best in the third period, causing problems for the Ashkelon defense with his blocking under the basket, allowing the BSL champion to go up by 12 points going into the final quarter of the game. Ashkelon just couldn't keep up with its more illustrious opponent in the final stanza, and when Anderson scored twice from the free throw line with 4:59 on the clock to put his team 84-67 ahead, the game was all but over. Hapoel Galil/Gilboa 77, Bnei Hasharon 62 New Bnei Hasharon coach Shamir admitted his side has much to improve on after seeing it outplayed by Katash's team in red. "It is already October 5 and still things aren't working," the former Hapoel Jerusalem coach said. "We need more of a fighting spirit. There are many things we need to work on. We need to be much more aggressive." Brian Randle scored 13 points for Gilboa to lead his team which was ahead for practically the entire game.