It’s amazing how the tides have turned for Maccabi Haifa with their revamped roster. Haifa’s offense exploded in the second half tonight at Romema for a 99-87 victory over Hapoel Holon, advancing to the State Cup quarterfinals. The Greens will face Gilboa/Galil in the Cup quarterfinals on Sunday at Romema at 19:45.
Five Haifa players scored in double figures, led by Ike Ofoegbu’s game-high 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting including 7-of-7 from the line along with 6 rebounds. Rene Rougeau was two assists shy of a triple-double, tallying 20 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. Newly acquired Moran Roth provided Haifa with fresh legs off the bench and a hot shooting hand, netting 16 points and dishing out 7 assists in 27 minutes. For Holon, Jordan Taylor poured in 19 points and 6 assists, followed by Dominic McGuire’s 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists.
“It’s a great feeling to be back here,” Roth said after his first game back ar Romema. “We earned a nice win, as a team. We played with a lot of spirit, energy, and experience. Romema needs the fans to fill the arena and I believe it will happen gradually.”
The Greens offense struggled early to get going as Holon came out hot to start the game. Moran Roth, in his second game back with the Greens, came off the bench and had an immediate impact with 6 points in 5 minutes along with Rene Rougeau who made a turnaround 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring Haifa within 21-20 at the close of the first period.
Rougeau and Tamir Ariely knocked down 3-pointers and Will Graves got on the board with a jumper to put Haifa up 28-25 after two minutes into the second quarter. Rougeau made a beautiful assist to Ofoegbu, who finished with a layup in midair to put Haifa up 33-29 midway through the quarter. Holon’s Domonic McGuire and Joran Taylor had great first halves (12 points each) as Holon fought back to reclaim a 39-37 lead at the 3:22 mark of the quarter. However, Ofoegbu was able to powered his way underneath in the paint along with a three-pointer from Anton Shoutvin off the bench and another buzzer beater to close the quarter, this time from Tamir Ariely to send Maccabi Haifa up 50-46 over Hapoel Holon.
Roth, Rougeau and Chubrevich extended Haifa’s lead to double-digits at 61-48 at the 5:00 mark with an 11-2 run. Yivzori splashed in his first three of the game to put Haifa up 66-52. However, Holon went on a 11-4 run to finish the quarter with Haifa leading 70-64.
Holon kept their momentum as Isaac Rosefelt grabbed the loose ball and made a layup, whittling the Haifa lead to one at 72-71 at the 8:23 mark. The Greens went on a 11-0 run beginning with Chubrevich making two shots the line, while Ofoegbu converted on a layup and a foul and Will Graves hit two three-pointers to extend the lead back to 83-71 with 4:55 left in regulation. The Greens finished off Holon 99-87 and put on a show with two alley-oops of the year from Ike Ofoegbu and Will Graves.