Maccabi Hunter Haifa (13-8) will host Maccabi Rishon Lezion (11-10) tonight at 7:00pm at RK Arena in the 21st Round of the Israeli Winner League. The third round schedule will be announced after the game, as the Greens will host 6 home games.
In honor of the International Women’s Day, women will be able to buy tickets for 50% off and will receive a flower as a gift at the entrance of RK Arena.
“We want to finish the second round in a positive way with a home win over Rishon Lezion, but in order to do it we need to be more accurate and execute better,” Greens head coach Rami Hadar said before the game.
Maccabi returns home for the first time since the pounding they handed Maccabi Tel Aviv at RK Arena more than a month ago. After a long layoff, the Greens have a quick turnaround from Saturday’s 90-83 road loss to Ashdod. Gregory Vargas led Haifa with 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals while John DiBartolomeo registered his fourth game in a row scoring in double figures with 16 points.
If the Greens win the game against Rishon Lezion, they will finish the second round with 8-3 record, which would be the best in the league. Rishon Lezion currently has the worst record in the second round at 3-7. Maccabi Hunter Haifa features the best home record in the league (9-1), holding opponents to a league-best 67.0 points per game at home.
“This game is super important for us, because we want to finish the second round with a win and because we haven’t played at home, in-front of our fans, for a long time,” Green forward, Oz Blayzer said. “Rishon is very talented and a dangerous team, so we will have concentrate and be aggressive in order to win and secure third place.”
In the first round, Rishon defeated the Greens 83-73, despite a great last quarter by Maccabi (32-16) and a 23-point performance from Gregory Vargas. Sharon Druker’s team has struggled in the Israeli league, but has fared well in Europe, advancing to the quarterfinals next week. In Rishon’s last game, they hosted Ironi Nahariya, winning 93-85, thanks to Mark Lyons (25 points) and Shawn Dawson (24 points and 7 assists)
Darryl Monroe is having a stellar season, posting averages of 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 33.1 minutes per game. Chris Wright, on the other hand, is still not fully recovered from his injury and in the last three games he has averaged 2.7 points per game. Former Greens captain Avi Ben Shimol also suffered an injury, and has averaged 9 points per game over his last three games.