Photo: Gal Fridman

Final: Maccabi Hunter Haifa 69, Hapoel Holon 75

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Greens’ fourth quarter rally comes up short against Holon

Box Score

Maccabi Hunter Haifa showed some grit with a fourth quarter comeback attempt, but came up short in a 75-69 loss to Hapoel Holon on Saturday night at Romema Arena.  Trailing Holon by as much as 16 points in the fourth quarter, Maccabi’s Angel Rodriguez, Luke Martinez and Dagan Yivzori helped spur a late surge to trim the gap to just two points, 69-67, after Yivzori drained a trey at the 1:45 mark.  Unfortunately for the Greens, they couldn’t pull past Holon in the final minute and a half of regulation as they dropped to 1-4 on the season.

Rodriguez led all Maccabi scorers for the second straight game, tallying 15 points on 7-for-16 shooting, 5 rebounds and 4 assists while committing 4 turnovers.  Martinez dropped 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting (including 3-for-6 from downtown) along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists.  Yivzori notched his first double figures scoring game of the season, recording 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting in 23 minutes.  Oz Blayzer finished the evening with 9 points (7 in the first quarter) and 3 assists.  Workman also chipped in 9 points and Brandon Bowman added 7 points and 7 rebounds in the loss.

Glen Rice Jr. made a quite an impression in his Winner League debut for Holon, recording a double-double on a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds.  Cory Walden notched 16 points and former Maccabi Tel Aviv players Josh Alexander (17 points) and Guy Pnini (12 points) also burned Haifa.

GREEN NOTES

Maccabi continued to struggled from long distance, connecting on just 24 percent (6-25) of their shots from downtown.  They turned the ball over 16 times while dishing out 14 dimes, and were outrebounded 42-29.  Holon also managed to score easily inside, connecting on 61 percent of their attempts from two-point range.

On the bright side, Maccabi snatched a season-high 16 steals on the evening and forced 24 Holon turnovers, which was one of the main reasons the Greens were able to get back into the game.

QUOTABLES

Head Coach, Offer Rahimi: “Although we came back into the game, we lost and we have to win games. I think that the decisions at the end, on both sides of the court, lost us the game. I am proud that we came back and showed a character, but we need wins. We are not in an easy situation, but we need to work hard and to adapt. I hope that [Reggie] Buckner will give us good minutes in the paint and will help us on the boards. I am glad that we have another big guy.”

Dagan Yivzori: “Every loss is tough. We did show some improvement from the last games, but it’s far from being perfect and we have to fix it. I am trying to get back to my normal pace, since I haven’t played for a long time and also to bring leadership to the team. We have a lot of work — it’s a process and will take time. It’s never easy to lose, but we just started the season.”

GAME PLAY

Maccabi ran out the same starting five (Rodriguez, Martinez, Workman, Blayzer and Bowman) for the second straight week. Blayzer got the Greens on the board with a triple to put Haifa up 3-0. Holon answered back to claim a 6-5 lead, but Maccabi responded with a 12-2 run spurred by Blayzer and Workman to reclaim a 17-8 advantage. Holon capped the first frame on a 12-0 run to take a 20-17 lead over Maccabi.

Yivzori came off the bench and scored Haifa’s first five points of the second period to knot the game at 22-22. Holon answered again with a 10-0 run, before Graves broke up the Haifa drought with a three-point play and Workman followed up with a drive to the rim to trim the gap to 32-27.  Holon countered with another 10-0 burst as Haifa went into the break trailing by 15 points, 42-27.

Martinez opened the second half with a triple, and followed up with another 3-pointer.  Holon answered with 3-pointers from Pnini and Rice as they maintained a 53-38 advantage.  Bowman drew a foul, connecting on both from the line, and Rodriguez knocked down one of two from the charity stripe to cut the deficit to 9 points, 53-44.  However, Holon managed to reclaim their double-digit advantage to close the third frame with a 61-47 lead.

Holon pushed the gap to 16 points, but Martinez netted a 3-pointer and Rodriguez scored four straight to bring Haifa within five points. Haifa continued to press as Rodriguez finished with a layup on a Workman assist to bring Haifa within, 67-64.  Joe Alexander momentarily broke the Haifa momentum with a bucket, but Yivzori brought the Haifa fans to their feet with a 3-pointer to bring Greens within two points.  At the end, Holon sealed the game at the line to end Haifa’s comeback.