Maccabi Hunter Haifa (1-2) host Hapoel Gilboa/Galil (1-2) on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. at Romema. Both teams enter the contest after achieving their first win of the season. Last week, Haifa topped Kiryat Gat and Gilboa/Galil surprised Jerusalem at Gan–Ner.
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The Greens look to even their record at 2-2 and earn their first home victory of the season after a 75-69 road win last week at Kiryat Gat. The MVP of the game was Captain Oz Blayzer who tallied 10 clutch points in the last quarter to lift Haifa to victory. On the season, Blayzer is perfect from the line (10/10), burying 6/6 from the charity stripe at Kiryat Gat. As a team, Haifa shot an impressive 95% from the line, connecting on 19-for-20 attempts.
“We hope to keep the momentum from Kiryat Gat,” Maccabi Hunter Haifa’s head coach Offer Rahimi said. “It’s very important for us to protect the house, as we want to give our fans a good show.”
In addition to the accurate foul shooting, the Greens vastly improved their ball movement, dishing out 19 assists, compared to a combined 23 assists in the first two games. The Greens also won the final quarter 24-17, which was their downfall in the first two league games — losing the fourth quarter by 11 points each game.
“We are ready for a hard game against a good team,” Amit Simhon said. “We want to earn our first home game win in front of our fans and we will have to give it our all in order to do it.”
Sunday’s contest will be the first time the Greens and the Reds have played one another since April of 2015 due to Gilboa/Galil playing in the second division last season. The Greens boast a 4-0 record against Gilboa/Galil in the Winner league. In the preseason, the teams faced one another at Gan-Ner with Maccabi Hunter Haifa defeating Gilboa/Galil, 96-81. Five Haifa players scored in double figures, led by Orlando Mendez-Valdez who notched 17 points and Tony Mitchell also shined with 14 points.
Gilboa/Galil enter Sunday’s game against Haifa feeling confident after shocking Hapoel Jerusalem last week with a 77-73 victory. Jason Siggers, who re-signed with Gilboa after helping them promote from the second division last season, tallied 21 points on 8/13 from the field. For his outstanding performance against Jerusalem, Siggers was awarded the Winner League’s MVP of the week.
Eric Griffin also was sharp for Gilboa/Galil recording a nice stat line of 18 points, 6 boards and 6 blocks. The leading Israeli for Gilboa was Ezequiel Skverer who registered 13 points and 5 assists in 31 minutes.