Greens battle Herzeliya for third place

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Tomorrow (Monday) at 8:15 pm, Maccabi Haifa (9-6) will host Bnei Herzeliya (9-6) in the 16th round of the Israeli Winner League.  With Rishon Lezion losing to Hapoel Jerusalem last night, the winner of Monday’s contest at RK Arena, will take over sole possession of third place in the standings.

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After the tough loss to Maccabi Tel Aviv in the State Cup, Maccabi returned to league action with an 83-73 win over Kiryat Gat.  Oz Blayzer, who had been struggling with an average of 4 points per game over his last 3 games, shined against Kiryat Gat with a season-high 18 points and 6 rebounds.  Another four players scored in double figures on Maccabi’s way to a team season-high 106 VAL.  Gregory Vargas (11 points and 9 assists) and Rene Rougeau (12 points and 9 rebounds) were very close to registering a double-double.

“It’s a significant game against a good team,” head coach Rami Hadar said. “We have to keep up our performance and intensity at the highest level, in order to win and get closer to the top of the standings.”

The Green captain, Chanan Colman’s lucky number seems to be 13, as he has scored 13 points four times this season. Against Kiryat Gat, he posted 13 points and 4 assists, just like he did in the loss to Herzeliya in the first round.  Through 15 games, Colman is averaging, 9.7 points per game, in 25.8 minutes, his highest averages of his career.

“It’s a big game for us, not only because we can pass them in the standings if we will defeat them, but also because they are a very tough team and I really like some of their players,” Colman said.  “It’s going to be interesting and a very high tempo game.”

Herzeliya are coming into Monday’s contest after a 95-92 home win over Nes Ziona with five players of coach Mickey Gorka’s team, scoring in double figures.  The impressive forward, Drew Crawford, had his third game with over 20 points scored this season, after notching 23 points in 31 minutes. The massive center, Hamady N’Diaye added a season-high 14 points and also swatted 6 shots, for the third time this season, just as he did against the Greens in the first round.

Power forward James Singleton scored 10 points against Nes Ziona and has scored in double-figures in all 15 league games for Herzeliya.  Young guard Yiftach Ziv, who transferred from Maccabi Haifa to Herzeliya three weeks ago, scored a career-high 10 points, while adding 3 assists and 3 rebounds.