Maccabi Hunter Haifa (13-7) will travel to Maccabi Ashdod (10-11) – host of the other port city in Israel – on Saturday at 6:25 pm in Round 22 of the Israeli Winner League. The Greens will make up the postponed Round 21 against Rishon LeZion on Tuesday, March 8th at RK Arena.
“The game at Ashdod is a significant challenge for us, against talented and well-coached team,” head coach Rami Hadar said. “We will have to be extremely accurate and determined in order to come back as the winner.”
Maccabi Hunter Haifa return to action after nearly a two week break since their dramatic 104-103 win over Nes Ziona in double overtime. The Greens stunned Nes Ziona, down 5 points with 10 seconds left in the end of the game, Haifa managed to force overtime thanks to Oz Blayzer’s clutch 3-pointer, followed by a steal and quick layup by Vargas. The Venezuelan point guard recorded a great game, posting a season-high in points (28) and assists (12), while adding 5 steals in 47 minutes on the court.
After a short stint of inconsistent play, Vargas registered his fourth straight game in double figures, and his second game in a row with more than 20 points and 10 assists. The Greens’ point guard is leading the league in steals (2.5 per game) and is second in assists (6.8) per game.
“We are preparing hard for the game against Ashdod, which was a tough first game against them at home, so I am sure that in their gym it will be harder,” Vargas said. “We’ve got two games left in the second round, and we want to finish it as high as possible in the standings.”
In the last meeting between the two teams, the Greens worked hard in order to earn a 78-74 victory over the Yellows from Ashdod. Chanan Colman led the Greens in scoring with 17 points, and Rene Rougeau added an impressive stat line with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals, in one of his best games this season. On the Yellow side, coach Zvika Sherf’s three American players scored 60 out of the team’s 74 points, with Charles Thomas dropping 27 points and 9 rebounds, while Diante Garrett added 21 points and 5 assists and Isaiah Swann scored four 3-pointers on his way to 12 points.
Jonathan Skjoldebrand, who woke up in the second round, has scored in double figures from Rounds 14-19, with an impressive average of 18.8 points per game. However, he has cooled off in his last two games, posting only 5.5 points per game. Ashdod is coming off a 101-93 loss to Herzliya, with the three Americans from Ashdod, contributing 67 of the 93 points in the defeat.