John DiBartolomeo’s 28 points propels Haifa to a 31-point victory, 101-70, over Hapoel Holon
Maccabi Hunter Haifa left no question marks who was going to win this one at the end of the game. The Green fans were treated to an offensive explosion in the second half by Haifa as they crushed Hapoel Holon by 31-points, 101-70, on Saturday night at Romema Arena to even the series at 1-1.
John DiBartolomeo put on a show, tallying a game-high 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting (6-for-11 from downtown and 6-for-6 from the line) along with 4 rebounds and 4 steals. Captain Oz Blayzer dropped 13 points, while Gregory Vargas dished out a game-high 8 assists while chipping in 12 points.
“We played defense, we played with intensity and we took care of the ball on offense,” said DiBartolomeo. “When you do those three things you put yourself in a chance to play good basketball and that’s what we did tonight. When you’re able to win in front of a great home crowd in the playoffs, there’s not a lot of better things than that.”
Willy Workman came off the bench and made his presence felt with 11 points and 6 boards, while big man Kevinn Pinkney recorded 10 points and 7 rebounds. Rashaun Freeman also made a strong impact off the bench, playing great defense while posting 8 points in 17 minutes. Orlando Mendez Valdez registered 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists while Amit Simhon added 7 points and 5 rebounds in the blowout victory.
Holon’s Tu Holloway had another high-scoring night, posting 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting. However, Haifa did a masterful job on defense to limiting two of Holon’s other key players — big man Darion Atkins was held to 6 points and 5 rebounds — getting him into early foul trouble. Haifa also contained James Bell who scored only 5 points on 2-for-7 shooting. Haifa’s defense held Holon’s two-point shooting to 36 percent (12-for-33) while the Greens shot 48 percent from the field (35-for-72).
Maccabi Hunter Haifa raced out to an 8-0 lead thanks to back-to-back triples by Vargas and Simhon. Holon responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 8-8. Haifa regained its composure to finished the quarter with a 19-13 lead thanks to a 3-pointer by Blayzer, two from the line by DiBartolomeo, a bucket by Pinkey and a tip-in by Workman.
Freeman scored in the post to push Haifa’s lead to 21-13. Holon’s Shlomi Harrush knocked down a 3-pointer, but DiBartolomeo responded with a 3-pointer and Vargas converted on 3-point play on a fast break to extend Haifa’s lead to 29-20. Holloway continued his hot shooting for Holon to trim Haifa’s lead down to 32-24, but Freeman scored inside to put Haifa up back by double-digits, 34-24. Holloway and Workman exchanged treys, but it was Blayzer who netted the last 3-pointer to put Haifa up 46-33 at the half.
Holon went on a 11-0 run midway through the third quarter to trim Haifa’s lead down to 54-46. However, the Greens stymied the visitor’s momentum as they went on a 14-4 burst thanks to DiBartolomeo who scored the last five points of the quarter as Haifa finish the third frame with a commanding 68-50 advantage.
DiBartolomeo wasn’t finished as he opened the fourth frame with another trey, and after a Freeman dunk, he splashed in another from long distance to cap a 15-0 Haifa run as the Greens pushed their lead to 76-50. DiBartolomeo knocked down a long-range triple which sent the Haifa crowd to their feet, giving Haifa an 81-55 lead. The Greens emptied their bench later in the fourth quarter as Haifa cruised to a 101-70 victory.