Maccabi Bazan Haifa (16-16) host Hapoel Holon (17-15) tomorrow (Sunday) at 9:05pm at Romema. The game will be broadcast on Channel 1, while all other games in the league will take place simultaneously to determine the Playoff quarterfinals seeding.
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After four consecutive wins, the Greens were stopped in Jerusalem, after being routed 90-67 by Hapoel. It was the first time Haifa hasn’t scored more than 70 points since the 8th round (when they put up 65 points against Maccabi Tel Aviv). Also, the Greens, which have led the league in steals throughout the entire season, registered only 7 steals at Jerusalem, and only 4 against Ashdod the week prior. Despite the loss, the Greens secured a playoff spot, and will battle Holon over the final seeding in the standings.
“I am satisfied we made the playoffs, but it’s not enough for me,” said head coach Rami Hadar. “The game against Holon is very important for the battle over which opponent we will face in the playoffs and for the rest of the season. We will have to get a push from our fans, in order to complete the mission.”
Rene Rougeau struggled against Jerusalem and finished the game with just 6 points. The versatile Rougeau was held to only a 4 VAL, the first time since the 15th round that he didn’t register an 11+ VAL. Will Graves, on the other hand, finished another game as the Greens’ top scorer, with 17 points (4-of-7 from downtown). Alex Chubrevich also played well, scoring in double figures on 11 points and 8 rebounds.
“We want to end the final game of the regular season on a high note, and put ourselves in best position to succeed in the playoffs,” said Chubrevich. “Our intensity will need to be at a higher level, and hearing our crowd behind us will pump us up even more.”
The Greens met Holon three times this season, losing twice in the league, but defeated the Purple and Gold in the state cup. Besides the cup game, the league games were dramatic, when Holon edged Haifa in overtime at Holon, and the Greens also suffered a heart-breaking loss on a buzzer beater by Shlomi Harush at Romema. At the end of the league round, the Greens will know which team they will face in the playoffs.
Holon coming to Romema after a tight win over Herzeliya, which secured them 3-5 place as well as Maccabi Haifa’s playoffs ticket. The MVP of Holon was Sean Evans, who started the season in Eilat and moved to Elad Hasin’s team after 3 months. The center had an impressive double-double on 20 points and 15 rebounds in 27 minutes. Dominic McGuire added 16 points and 6 rebounds and Isaac Rosefelt, who is the second best rebounder in the league, was very efficient with 9 points and 8 rebounds in 13 minutes.
Captain Shlomi Harush, who scored the winning layup at Romema in the 18th round, also scored the last two points against Herzeliya. Harush is averaging 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Another dominant player was 21 years old, Alon Sapir, who got his opportunity from Hasin and in 24 minutes scored 8 points.