Maccabi Hunter Haifa (6-7) will host Maccabi Kiryat gat (2-11) on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at Romema. The Greens are coming into Monday’s contest after three league wins in a row, while Kiryat Gat is coming in with reinforcements after signing two new imports.
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Counting to three
The Greens from the Carmel are on a three-game winning streak after two road victories over Eilat and Hapoel Tel Aviv as well as a blowout victory over Herzeliya 99-65 at Romema last week. Last game was Gregory Vargas’ return to the court and the point guard didn’t disappoint, registering a double-double on 10 points and 11 assists.
In total, eight players in Green scored in double figures last Sunday against Herzeliya, lead by Will Graves who posted 14 points and 5 rebounds.
“We want to continue the team’s good performance from the last several league games and to protect the house against Kiryat Gat,” head coach Offer Rahimi said. “Despite their location in the standings and their record, it’s a tough game, against a team which is facing a must-win after important changes to their roster.”
Green, Blue and White
Maccabi Hunter Haifa’s Israelis are proving each week that collectively they are the best in the league. Maccabi’s Israelis are combing for 37.6 points per game — 45.6% of the team’s total points per game (second in the league). They also combine for a 41.2 VAL, which is first in the league.
Amit Simhon is still leading the Israelis in points per game (14.9), the runner-up is Greens’ former player, Sylven Landesberg with 14.5 points per game. John DiBartolomeo is the best Israeli in the league in VAL (17.9) and captain Blayzer is leading the Israelis from the foul line (85.0%) and is second in blocks (1.2 per game).
Willy Workman put up solid numbers against Herzeliya, scoring 13 points in 18 minutes. Last time Workman scored in double figures was in November when the Greens beat Nahariya at Romema, 96-75, with the forward scoring 10 points.
“Right now we are in a good situation as we have some momentum going,” Workman said before the game. “Vargas is adding a lot of energy to our game. Kiryat Gat are better than their record and they are a different team from the one we met last time.”
In the first game between the teams this season at Ashkelon, the contest was tight throughout. Kiryat Gat grabbed a one-point lead, but Maccabi ensued on a 11-1 run thanks in party by captain Blayzer, who scored 10 of his points in the final frame (finished with 16) to lift Maccabi Hunter Haifa to a 75-69 win. Besides Blayzer, Mendez-Valdez was also dominant with 13 points (3-foro-9 from downtown and 5 steals).
For Kiryat Gat, it was Tyshawn Taylor, who scored 25 points in 40 minutes, was released from the team last week. Curtis Kelly registered 11 points and 6 rebounds in his first game with the team.
After releasing Taylor, Marco Killingsworth and James Singelton, Kiryat Gat signed two new players last week, who are familiar with the Israeli league — Josh Selby and Brandon Bowman. Selby played with the Green Captain Blayzer for Herzeliya in the 2014-15 season, averaging 16.2 points and 5.1 assists in the regular season. Bowman played in Rishon (2011-12) and for Gilboa/Galil (2012-13). In Rishon, he recorded impressive averages of 15.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.
The known Israelis of Nati Cohen’s Kiryat Gat team are Eyal Shulman who is enjoying a good season so far with 10.9 points and 3.5 assists in 30.5 minutes, Alex Rosenberg (scored 16 points last week) and Or Solomon who contributes 4.1 points and 5.6 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per night.