Hoopsters delight fans

Olympiakos, Maroussi, Panionios and Panathinaikos will be the teams to contest the semifinals of the Greek basketball cup after yesterday’s quarterfinal results. Olympiakos had a relatively easy time beating AEK 81-66 at home, scoring its second win over AEK within three days after its 101-84 victory for the league last Sunday. Panayiotis Yiannakis gave all the players he had available the chance to to feature in the match, as some of the top players of the team were rested ahead of the big derby with Panathinaikos on Sunday. In a very tight game at Maroussi, the hosts saw off Olympia Larissas 70-69, fending off a late rally by the visitors that almost turned the game on its head. In the closest of yesterday’s games, though, Panionios needed two overtime periods to beat Aris 94-99 at the neutral ground in Larissa, as Aris had a penalty to serve carried over from last season. The regular 40 minutes ended 69-69 and the first overtime period 81-81. Panionios was actually leading by 15 points early in the second half, but Aris staged a return to take the game to the wire. Panathinaikos faced Panellinios at home and the Greens won 90-81. The host team’s Dimitris Diamantidis was sent off late in the first half for spitting at an opponent. In the semifinals, set for January 24, Maroussi will face Panathinaikos and Olympiakos will host Panionios. The final is scheduled for February 21, 2009.