Maccabi Haifa played in their second straight overtime, but couldn’t pull this one out falling 89-81 in Holon. Ike Ofoegbu tallied 18 points in the loss, followed by Jeff Allen and Dagan 15 points. Holon had five players who scored in double-figures led by Dominic McGuire’s 18 points and 7 rebounds. Holon controlled the boards as they outrebounded Haifa 43-29.
Stitt on the difference between the first and second half, “In the second half Holon did a good job of pressuring us a little more, especially myself. But like I said to win games it’s about defense, rebounding, and limiting turnovers.”
About the rest of the season and the next game. “It’s still early in the season. We still need time to gell. If they (Hapoel) can beat Maccabi Tel Aviv, we can beat them too.”
The Greens changed the starting rotation to try and combat Holon’s bigs Rosefelt and McGuire. Haifa began the game with Tamir Ariely, Dagan Yivzori, Rene Rougeau, Ike Ofoegbu, and Jeff Allen. Rene Rougeau scored six early points for Greens as the Haifa defense pressured Holon early taking an 11-8 advantage at the 5:09 mark. Holon tied the score at 11-11 after McGuire was fouled, but Ike Ofoegbu scored two at the foul line and a Yivzori three-pointer put the Greens up 16-11. Maccabi Haifa would finish the first period up 18-16, recording 7 steals.
The Greens continued their excellent pressure as their defense led to offense with an Ike Ofoegbu dunk to go up 22-19 at the 6:45 mark. A give and go from Chubrevich to Ariely, who finished with a nifty layup under the basket put Haifa up 5 points. Ofoegbu scored a layup on a fast-break and Jeff Allen powered his way to the basket on Rosefelt to go up 33-22 with less than 2 minutes left in the half. The Greens defense was stellar as they went into the break with a 32-24 lead, tallying 9 steals in the first half.
Holon’s Tony Crocker scored five quick points to whittle the Haifa lead down to 35-31 after two and half minutes into the third quarter. Demontez Stitt drilled a three-pointer and Jeff Allen scored two consecuitve buckets to give Haifa 42-35 lead over Holon with 4 minutes left in the period. Holon responded with a 5-0 run to close within 42-40 at the 3:12 mark. Holon’s McGuire drilled a three-pointer and Laurence Bowers followed with an offensive rebound and a putback to claim a 45-44 advantage over Haifa at the 1:18 mark. The Greens would end the third quarter down 50-48.
Stitt started the fourth quarter with a tear-drop to tie the game and Yivzori reclaimed a one point lead for the Greens, 53-52, with a three-pointer. Stitt caught fire with a three-pointer from downtown and a jumper to put Haifa up 58-54 with just over 7:30 left in regulation. Ofoegbu netted his first three-pointer of the night to increase the lead to 62-58 over Holon. Holon would battle all the way back with a 8-2 run to take a 69-64 lead with less than three minutes left in the game. Yivzori hit a huge three-pointer from the corner and Ofoegbu was fouled underneath the basket, hitting both from the line to tie the game at 69-69 with just under two minutes left. Holon’s Bowers gave the home team a two-point lead 71-69 from the line at the 1:38 mark. Haifa forced a 24-second violation with 46 seconds and the Greens capitalized with a Jeff Allen turnaround bucket to tie the game at 71-71. The Greens defense held down Holon with 2 seconds left as Haifa sent the game into OT.