The Greens breeze past Bnei Herzeliya with a 99-65 victory at Romema Arena as Gregory Vargas notches a double-double in his return
It was as if he never left. In his first game back in a Haifa uniform, Gregory Vargas registered a double-double on 10 points and 11 assists to go along with 5 rebounds, lifting Maccabi Hunter Haifa to a 99-65 beatdown of Bnei Herzeliya at Romema Arena on Sunday night. Vargas was one of eight Haifa players to score in double figures, led by Will Graves who tallied 14 points on 5-for-8 from the field. Captain Oz Blayzer and Willy Workman posted 13 points each, while Amit Simhon and John DiBartolomeo added 12 points each. Tony Mitchell and Orlando Mendez-Valdez chipped in 10 points each in the victory.
With Vargas leading the way, the Greens’ ball distribution was the best it’s been all season — dishing out a season-high 25 assists to only 9 turnovers. Haifa shot 56 percent from the field (37-for-66) and dominated the boards — pulling down 37 rebounds while limiting Herzeliya to only 25 rebounds. The Haifa fans got their money’s worth as the arena was on their feet for most of the night. The victory improved Haifa to 6-7 on the season.
“Haifa is like a second home for me,” said a pumped up Gregory Vargas after the game. “I came back to lead this team to the championship.”
After a lackluster start by the Greens in which Herzliya raced out to a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, Vargas’ floor leadership swayed the momentum in the Green’s favor in the second quarter as Haifa ensued on a 22-4 run. The Greens went into the halftime break leading 42-31 thanks to a buzzer-beater trey by Simhon. Haifa extended their lead to 53-36 on a 3-pointer by Blayzer, but Herzeliya managed to cut the gap down to 10 points after a Leumi buried a 3-pointer. Graves made sure Herzeliya never got closer as he stepped up with 8 points and Workman made several highlight-reel drives to close the quarter leading 71-48. In the final frame, the Greens piled it on as the Haifa fans rose to their feet to show their support for the team’s terrific performance.