Maccabi Hunter Haifa (12-7) face Ironi Nes Ziona (7-12) on the road tomorrow at 7:55 pm. Both teams have never won against each other on the road, as the Greens have lost 5 games at Nes Ziona over the last 3 seasons (including playoffs).
The Greens had a two-week break after their 35-point rout over Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi held a scrimmage against Hapoel Tel Aviv to maintain their momentum last Tuesday, but fell short 84-81, after they were down by 23 points by halftime. The leading scorers for Haifa were Vargas with 15 points, Blayzer with 14 points and DiBartolomeo and Buckner who tallied 13 points each.
“We are heading to a hard road game against a talented team,” Maccabi Hunter Haifa head coach Rami Hadar said. “I hope that we will find our rhythm, and that we will get into the game, right from the beginning.”
The last league game the Greens had, was at RK Arena against Maccabi Tel Aviv and it ended with an historic 91-56 rout. Rami Hadar’s team are in third place, two games behind defending champs Hapoel Jerusalem. After the game against Nes Ziona, the Greens will have two more games, at Ashdod and at home against Rishon to conclude the second round of the Israeli League.
In the huge win over Maccabi Tel Aviv, 4 players shined on the offensive side, led by Gregory Vargas’ 21 points and 10 assists, on his way to his second double-double this season, and John DiBartolomeo notched a season-high of 22 points. The performance of both landed them the Winner League MVP title of the week. Will Graves had 17 points and Reggie Buckner contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds.
“After two weeks off, this is a great opportunity to compete against another team as we close out the 2nd round. Maccabi Haifa has never won there and we plan to end that streak tomorrow,” Will Graves said.
In the first round, Maccabi Hunter Haifa and Nes Ziona played at RK Arena, as the Greens had one of the most impressive defensive performances in the league this season, holding the oranges to 57 points and registered a league season-high 14 blocks in the game. Reggie Buckner was the best player on the court as he recorded a double-double on 17 points and 13 rebounds, adding 4 blocks, in 22 minutes.
Offer Berkovits’ team signed Sundiata Gaines and in 3 games he is posting averages of 17.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. Despite his nice opening, Diamon Simpson is still the most solid player on the team, averaging 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds along with 1.6 blocks per game. Fuquan Edwin, who scored only 5 points last time against Maccabi, has scored in double figures 14 times this season, averaging 14.9 points per game.
The Israeli players on Nes Ziona are led by Yuval Naimi, who is having a great season with 15.1 points and 5.8 assists per game. Tal Dunne, who missed the last three league games because of an injury, is coming back to Nes Ziona’s roster, as he averages 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Center Igor Nesterenko notched a career-high 16 points against Ashdod 3 weeks ago.