Fourth Quarter push not enough as Greens fall to Rishon Lezion

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Box Score

Maccabi Haifa couldn’t right the ship on the road tonight, despite a furious fourth quarter push by the Greens that saw Haifa whittle a 26 point deficit down to single digits.  Unfortunately for the Greens, a 24-3 run in the second and third quarter by Rishon proved to be too much for Haifa to overcome as Haifa lost 83-73 to drop to 5-5 on the season (1-4 on the road), while Rishon improved to 7-2.

Rishon’s Shawn Dawson (26 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists) and Mark Lyons (14 points, 5 assists) burned the Greens throughout the game.  Haifa’s Gregory Vargas was the Greens’ main offensive weapon, especially in the fourth quarter, as he finished with a team-high 23 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals.  Rene Rougeau (12 points) was the only other Maccabi Haifa player to score in double figures.

“We didn’t play well today and we have a lot to check on the video,” coach Rami Hadar reflected after the game. “We played fine in the first and last quarter, but not more than that. It’s hard to explain the inconsistency but we must check ourselves and work.”

The game started out with a very fast pace as Haifa grabbed an early 17-12 lead over Rishon, thanks to strong play by Rougeau and Reggie Buckner.  However, Rishon responded to close the first quarter with a 21-20 lead.  In the second quarter, Haifa’s offense sputtered as Rishon took control of the game to take a 45-30 lead going into the half.  The third quarter, the Greens didn’t fare any better as Rishon continued to pour it on to take a 67-41 advantage over Haifa.  The fourth quarter, Haifa finally started clicking as they outscoured Rishon 32-16 in the final period, but it was too little too late.