Greens unable to cool off Ashdod, drop fifth game in last six contests
It’s been a difficult road for Maccabi Hunter Haifa this season. The Greens (7-17) lost their third straight game, 85-74, on Sunday night at Maccabi Ashdod (16-9) as coach Brad Greenberg’s team set a new franchise record with their seventh straight victory. Haifa has now lost eight consecutive games on the road.
Despite a quick start by the Greens which put them up 10-5 early in the first quarter, Maccabi played catch up for most of the contest. Haifa rallied late in the game — trimming a 17-point second half deficit down to four points, 75-71, with 3:00 remaining in regulation. But Ashdod’s Sek Henry, who finished the night with 16 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds, sealed the game with a dagger 3-pointer to put the home team up 80-71 with 1:37 left on the clock.
“We didn’t play well enough, on defense we were not aggressive enough,” coach Offer Rahimi said after the game. “I am always, in these situations, looking at myself, what should I do better. I don’t feel that the players do not want it, but the results speak for themselves.”
Maccabi was paced by Reggie Buckner who dropped 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes. Angel Rodriguez featured an impressive stat line of 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Oded Brandwein notched 11 points, while Trevor Gaskins (5 assists) and Brandon Bowman (5 rebounds) scored 10 points apiece. Willy Workman chipped in 9 points and 9 rebounds in the defeat. Newcomer Trahson Burrell was held scoreless in 6 minutes. Despite Ashdod playing without their injured big man, Gerald Lee, the Greens still struggled on the glass as Haifa was outrebounded, 44-34.
Ashdod was paced by Ben McCauley’s 19 points and 6 boards, while Nimrod Levi recorded a double-double on 19 points and 12 rebounds. Cameron Long also dropped 17 points and 6 boards for Ashdod.
Haifa’s 3-point shooting woes surfaced once again in the first half of the contest as Maccabi shot 1-of-11 (9%), and found themselves in a 43-28 hole at the break.
After an evenly matched third quarter in which both teams scored 21 points apiece, the Greens trailed 64-49. In the final frame, Maccabi Hunter Haifa stepped up their level of intensity as Bowman drained a 3-pointer, and Gaskins sank back-to-back triples to whittle the gap down to 74-63. Rodriguez converted on a three-point play, and he immediately followed it up with a steal and fastbreak layup to bring Haifa within 75-71, capping a 16-3 Haifa run. That’s as close as the Greens would come. Ashdod ripped off five straight points to curb the Greens’ momentum as the Haifa fell 85-74.