Maccabi Tel Aviv wins State Cup

Maccabi Tel AvivIsraeli giant Maccabi Tel Aviv is having a torrid 2015/2016 season, thumped in the Euroleague, knocked out of the Eurocup, and trailing Hapoel Jerusalem in the Winner League. However, when all else fails, the club can always turn to the State Cup.

The club has won the cup in other terrible seasons, and so it proved again in this, as Maccabi Tel Aviv won the Israeli Cup for the seventh consecutive year. The clubs’ grip on the trophy is well worn by now, this is the 43rd time the heavyweight as won the competition.

Winner League rivals Maccabi Ashdod were the victims in 2016, succumbing to an 83-75 defeat as Tel Aviv dug deep to finally taste some success this season. The favourties controlled the early pace and opened a 50-28 lead through halftime, but it was soon eroded by a dogged Ashdod performance in the second half. It was down to just two points in the fourth quarter, but Devin Smith stepped up with 7 points in the fourth act, which propelled Maccabi Tel Aviv to the cup.

Smith had been a doubt for the game, but he put in a game winning performance, although Gal Mekel led the winners with 21 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Sylven Landesberg matched Smith’s 14 points to help Mekel at the bucket.

Ahsdod was playing its first ever State Cup final and the team will rue a slow start to the game. Charles Thomas was the pick of both teams with 30 points in the losing effort.

With a trophy under its belt, Maccabi Tel Aviv will now look to winning the domestic league. The club is out of European competition, so has no distractions, and who knows, perhaps the 2015/2016 season will be one to remember after-all.

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